French carmaker Renault posted record sales and profit for 2017, bolstering Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn's position in the face of government demands for a clearer succession plan and deeper integration with alliance partner Nissan
Renault said on Friday its operating profit surged 17.4 percent to an all-time high of 3.854 billion euros ($4.84 billion), or 6.6 percent of revenue - which rose 14.7 percent to 58.77 billion on buoyant European demand.
The record earnings and margin beat analysts' expectations of 3.65 billion euros in operating profit, based on the median of 14 estimates in an Inquiry Financial poll for Reuters. Revenue came in below their 59.25 billion consensus.
Operating profit at the core automotive division, excluding the recently consolidated AvtoVAZ business in Russia, rose 15.2 percent to 363 million euros, Renault said. Manufacturing cost savings increased to 663 million euros from 184 million.
Renault pledged to maintain its group operating margin above 6 percent in 2018 despite worsening currency effects that reduced its full-year profit by 300 million euros.
The strong financial performance may help Ghosn to resist pressure from the French government, Renault's biggest shareholder, for a closer tie-up with Nissan that safeguards national interests. The state commands a 15 percent stake in Renault and two board seats.