Volvo Cars warns outbreak will dent earnings

Europe

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s Volvo Car Group, owned by China’s Geely, scaled back financial guidance for the full year, warning that sales, earnings and cash flow in the first half of 2020 would decline from a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic weighs on business.

The Gothenburg-based carmaker, which Geely acquired from Ford Motor Co in 2010, had said only last month it expected to grow sales and profit this year, but that was before the coronavirus spread rapidly through Europe and North America.

“The weakening market and production disruptions will impact the first half year results negatively as sales, profit and cash flow are expected to be lower than last year’s and it will be challenging to recover the impact during the remainder of the year,” it said in a statement.

Volvo said it had temporarily closed its manufacturing plants in Europe and the United States and reduced working hours for its office employees in an effort to limited the long-term fallout from the pandemic on its business.

“As the outbreak has spread globally, Volvo Cars has seen negative effects on its business from a weakening market and production disruptions, which are expected to continue as the situation evolves,” it added.

Volvo’s plants in China also faced extended first-quarter shutdowns as the coronavirus initially spread.

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