BMW Q2 net rises to $2.5 billion

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker BMW AG says rising sales in China helped its profits more than double to (euro) 1.81 billion ($2.5 billion) in the second quarter, even as the growth of that key market began to ease.

The net profit figure released Tuesday compares to (euro) 834 million a year ago and easily beat the (euro) 1.475 billion average estimate from analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenues in the quarter rose 16.5 percent to (euro) 17.9 billion, just shy of forecasts.

The company credited a high-value model mix, with its 5-series sedan and X-3 sport utility showing large sales volume increases. Sales in China rose 52 percent, even as the overall Chinese car market increased by 20 percent, cooling its previous red-hot growth somewhat due to the end of state-sponsored stimulus measures.

BMW sold 63,300 cars in China during the quarter, compared to 80,300 at home in Germany. Sales in the important U.S. market also increased.

The Munich-based company’s results follow strong earnings from other German carmakers. Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG last week also showed fat profits on sales in China and other emerging markets. Porsche AG, which is merging with VW, on Monday said it made more than a billion euros in operating earnings in the first half of the year.

Like several other German companies this earnings season, the company was cautious about the economy for the rest of the year. It said it is unlikely that growth will be as dynamic as in 2010, given the prospect of higher interest rates around the world and debt troubles in many countries.

The company also cautioned that sales and earnings increases in the second half would be held down by model changes and spending on the launch and production start-up of new models.

BMW maintained its outlook that pre-tax profits should be significantly higher this year than last, though it noted that its prediction was based on continued growth in the world economy.

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