Picture: BLOOMBER/BALINT PRONECZI
Picture: BLOOMBER/BALINT PRONECZI

PARIS — Renault said on Friday that net profit for 2015 was up 48.1% to €2.96bn, allowing it to hit profitability targets two years early. However, the French carmaker said it took a hit in Russia.

It saw turnover surge 10.4% to €45.3bn, but the economic downturn in Russia hit its Avtovaz unit there hard, with a loss of €620m.

Renault, which operates Avtovaz with its partner Nissan and Russian carmaker Rostec, said the Russian car market slumped 35% as the country’s economy was slowed dramatically by international sanctions over its action in Ukraine, and by the crash in oil prices.

The French company said it was in talks with shareholders of Avtovaz’s holding company "with a view to a recapitalisation, which could lead to the consolidation of the company by Renault".

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said 2015 had been "a good year".

"On the basis of these results, we can look forward to 2016 with a certain degree of confidence." The company hit its target for operational profitability of 5% — the 5.1% it registered was a marked improvement on the 3.9% in 2014.

Mr Ghosn said he was confident the global car market would grow between 1% and 2% in 2016 and said he was counting on Russia and Brazil, another developing market that slumped in 2015, picking up in the near future.

"We remain convinced that these markets will grow in the future and we will be ready when that happens," he said.

Renault shares were flat at €68.97 at 10.30am GMT, having earlier dropped as low as €67.50.

AFP