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Ferrari boss has zero fears over electric future

03 August 2021 - 12:23 By Reuters
Ferrari CEO John Elkann sees the switch to electric technology as an exciting new opportunity
Ferrari CEO John Elkann sees the switch to electric technology as an exciting new opportunity
Image: Supplied

Ferrari, the sports car maker synonymous with roaring petrol engines, welcomes the shift to electric powertrains and is confident of retaining its lead in the market for high performance cars, its chair said on Monday.

The EU last month proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 as part of its measures to combat global warming, posing a challenge to automakers that have made powerful engines a key selling point.

But Ferrari chair and acting CEO John Elkann told analysts on Monday the company known for its 'Prancing Horse' logo saw the change in technology as an opportunity.

“We see the regulation as welcome,” Elkann said, as Ferrari stuck to its main 2021 targets after reporting second-quarter core profits just ahead of expectations.

“The opportunity set by electrification, electronics and other technologies that are coming available will allow us to make even more distinct and unique products,” he said.

Elkann, the scion of Italy's Agnelli family which controls Ferrari through its investment company Exor, was speaking weeks before new CEO — technology industry veteran Benedetto Vigna — takes the helm on September 1.

One of Vigna's tasks could be to forge new partnerships, along the lines of Ferrari's existing tie-up with Britain's Yasa, now part of Daimler, to help with the shift to an electric era, Elkann said.

“We believe that within the industry and more importantly, outside of our industry, we are going to benefit much from partnerships and joint programmes,” he said.

Ferrari has pledged to launch its first all-electric car in 2025.

On Monday, the company reported a tripling in adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) for the second quarter to €386m (roughly R6.6bn) as shipments recovered from pandemic-hit trading in the same period last year. That was just ahead of analysts' mean forecast of €373m (roughly R6.4bn).

Ferrari increased its industrial free cash flow guidance for this year to around €450m (roughly R7.7bn) from around €350m (roughly R5.98bn), but left forecasts for net revenues and adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) unchanged.

Its Milan-listed shares fell as much as 3.45% after the results. They closed down 1.9%.

Citi analysts said the unchanged earnings guidance, despite strong second-quarter results, raised concerns that margins were expected to come under pressure in the second half.