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Ferrari Earnings: 2015 Was the Best Year Ever

By John Rosevear - Feb 2, 2016 at 2:50PM

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The newly independent supercar maker had a record year in 2015. But it also picked up a lot of debt from its former owner and expects only modest growth in 2016.

The new Ferrari 488GTB helped drive the supercar maker to a record year in 2015. Image source: Ferrari.

Italian supercar maker Ferrari (RACE -2.51%) released its full-year 2015 earnings results on Feb. 2. Here's what you need to know. 

The key numbers
Financial results are shown in millions of euros.

 20152014 Change
Shipments 7,664 7,255 +6%
Revenue 2,854 2,762 +3%
Adjusted EBIT 473 404 +17%
Adj. EBIT margin 16.6% 14.6% + 2.0 points
Net income 290 265 +9.4%
Net Cash (Debt) (1,938) 566 -2,504

What happened with Ferrari during the quarter and year
The big news for Ferrari in the fourth quarter (and indeed, the biggest news in all of 2015) was its separation from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU). FCA sold its 90% stake in Ferrari via an initial public offering in October and a big distribution of Ferrari shares to FCA shareholders was effective as of Jan. 1. 

As part of that transaction, newly separate Ferrari took on 2.8 billion euros of FCA's heavy debt load. While the company had 566 million euros net of its debt as of the end of 2014, it ended 2015 with a net debt position of 1.9 billion euros.

Image source: Ferrari.

Five hundred million euros of that debt is a bridge loan; Ferrari expects to repay that with a bond issue later this year. It will repay the remainder between now and 2020. 

Ferrari's core business remained healthy in 2015 -- in fact, from a sales and revenue perspective, it was the company's best year ever. Ferrari divides its car models into two broad categories, by engine type: V8 and V12. Generally speaking, Ferrari's V12 models have always been significantly more expensive than its V8-powered cars. The V12 models sell in smaller numbers and generate more profit per sale.

Right now, Ferrari's core V12-powered model, the F12, is in the fourth year of its model cycle, while its core V8 model, the 488 series, was new in 2015. That plays into the way in which Ferrari's mix of product evolved in 2015: Shipments of V8 models rose 17%, while V12 shipments fell 24%. Overall, Ferrari's shipments rose 6% last year.

Sales of the aging V12-powered Ferrari F12 Berlinetta slowed last year. Image source: Ferrari

By region, Ferrari's shipments to the Americas increased 7% last year, with V8 sales in the U.S. (Ferrari's largest single market) driving much of the gain. European sales rose 2%, but sales in China fell (almost 10%) as that market slowed. While "greater China," including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is expected to be a major market for Ferrari in time, CEO Sergio Marchionne noted that China itself still represents less than 5% of Ferrari's total shipments.

Ferrari has historically capped its production in order to preserve the exclusivity of its products. But Marchionne has said that the company will gradually increase its production over the next several years in order to account for increased demand in markets such as China (and probably also so that Ferrari can show some sales growth to its new investors). Marchionne said during Ferrari's earnings call that the company expects to get to about 9,000 sales per year in 2019.

What's ahead for Ferrari in 2016
2015 was a banner year for the Prancing Horse in many respects. It expects gains in 2016, but only incremental ones: Shipments are expected to total about 7,900 (versus 7,644 in 2015), with net revenues of more than 2.9 billion euros (versus 2.854 billion euros in 2015), adjusted EBITDA of more than 770 million euros (versus 748 million in 2015), and net debt at the end of 2016 of less than 1.95 billion euros (versus 1.938 billion euros at the end of 2015).

John Rosevear has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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