European recovery helps mitigate Renault sales decline in France

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FILE PHOTO: A logo of automaker Renault is pictured at a dealership in Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, October 22, 2020. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – French car manufacturer Renault RENA.PA posted an 8.2% drop in third-quarter revenue on Friday in the first months of its turnaround attempt under new boss Luca de Meo, an improved performance from the start of the year during coronavirus lockdowns.

The company said in a business update that it had taken market share in Europe, helped in part by sales of vehicles like its electric Zoe. He added revenue in the automotive division that had been hampered by lower volumes, but benefited from a price effect – a key part of De Meo’s strategy as it tries to boost profitability by focusing on more expensive models.

Renault, which posted a record net loss of more than 7 billion euros ($ 8.26 billion) in the first half, has also embarked on cost cuts in an attempt to revive its recovery.

The automaker was already struggling more than some rivals with declining sales before the coronavirus crisis hit, while trying to mend a difficult relationship with its Japanese partner Nissan.

The group said overall revenue was € 10.4 billion in the July-September period. The 8.2% year-over-year decline was compared to a 35% drop in Renault revenue in the six months to June.

Renault also said it had taken € 3 billion from its € 5 billion loan guaranteed by the French state, an aid measure put in place amid the pandemic.

The automaker had liquidity reserves of 15.2 billion euros at the end of September, down 1.6 billion euros since the end of June due to debt repayments and working capital requirements. But, he said, he still expects his automotive division to produce positive free cash flow in the second half of 2020.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Uttaresh.V

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