Feb. 12, 2007 – Finance Digest

BMW Group reports revenue increase in 2006
The BMW Group said revenue generated from its motorcycle segment rose 3.4 percent in 2006.
Overall, the manufacturer reported record sales volume and revenues for all its products. The group revenue increased 5 percent to euro 48.9 billion ($63.4 billion) last year.
Revenue generated from its auto segment rose 4.2 percent to euro 47 billion ($61.8 billion) in 2006.
The company said it continues to foresee a prosperous fiscal year for 2006. “We remain confident that we will be able to post record pre-tax earnings of euro 4 billion for 2006,” Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW AG’s Board of Management, said in a press release.
The group’s motorcycle sales rose past the 100,000 mark for the first time this year and the percentage of new units sold increased by 2.7 percent to 100,064 units (2005: 97,474 units).

Raw material increases hurt Bridgestone’s bottom line
Bridgestone Corp. reported increased sales, including in North America, but its net income decreased significantly because of rising raw material costs.
Overall, Bridgestone reported a 69 percent drop in its net income for its first three quarters, which ended Dec. 31. Reported net income was 50 billion yen ($409 million), down from 159.3 billion yen ($1.3 billion) a year ago.
The company’s net income was affected by several “extraordinary” events, including a gain of $693 million arising from the Japanese government’s return of a portion of an employee pension plan, a loss of $151 million because of the closure of two tire plants in the Americas, and a loss of $245 million because of a settlement agreement between Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone Firestone North America Tire.
Bridgestone’s net sales, however, did rise by 13 percent compared to the same period last year, totaling 2.1 trillion yen ($18.3 billion). Its sales in North America grew even more, increasing by 18 percent to 989.3 billion yen ($8.1 billion).
Bridgestone also reported sales increases in Japan (by 8 percent) and Europe (13 percent.)

Dealers Finance Source, Powersports Complete Form Alliance
Powersports Complete (PSC)and Dealers Finance Source (DFS) have joined to offer outsourced financing services and F&I products to powersports dealers.
The combined platform of products and services will give dealers the opportunity to finance more deals, increase gross profit and ensure that each of their customers is offered an effective, legally compliant product presentation, according to a joint press release.
“We see dealers struggle to achieve acceptable results in F&I,” said Jerry Neal, CEO of Nashville-based PSC. “The average owner-operator wears several hats and finds it difficult to hire the right people and train them effectively,” he said. “The lost revenue is staggering.”
Under the agreement, DFS and PSC, a Powersports Complete subsidiary, will market jointly through the Powersports Complete agent network. Current Powersports Acceptance outsourced finance services will be merged into the DFS operation. The technology platform will be joined with PSC’s menu selling solution. PSC will also provide products, training, and IT support for the combined venture. “Quality agents working in the dealership are a must,” said Nancy Hill, CEO of Dallas-based Dealers Finance Source. “With Powersports Complete, we know we have the best trained and most experienced field agents to represent our program.”

Ducati reports revenue rise in its third quarter
Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A reported its revenues for its first nine months of 2006 were up slightly.
The Italian motorcycle company’s revenues were euro 232 million ($300 million), which is up 1.4 percent compared to the previous year period.
“Despite the planned reduction in volumes in terms of sales, we closed the first nine months 2006 with an improved operating margin,” Ducati CEO Federico Minoli said in a press release. “The main objective for the coming months is to focus sales on high-margin models, continue the stock reduction effort and successfully prepare for the launch of the new models.”
The company’s net income, however, was a loss of euro 4.6 million ($5.9 million). That is markedly improved over last year’s loss of euro 16.6 million ($21.4 million) at the end of the third quarter.
For the first nine months of 2006, Ducati said its registrations were approximately 30,000, which is up 2 percent over the same period last year. Registrations were up 23 percent in the United States, 1 percent in Japan and 2 percent in France. Registrations, however, were down in the United Kingdom (18 percent), Germany (10 percent) and Italy (6 percent.)

Changes for Interstate National Dealer Services
The new year has brought a number of changes to Interstate National Dealer Services Inc.
Shaun Fetherston has been named Interstate’s CEO. Fetherston had previously worked for ACE USA as senior vice president of the warranty division and vice president of Dimension Service Corp. He has also worked for American Bankers Insurance Group, now Assurant, as senior vice president.
Also this year, the company will continue to roll out new branding, with new brochures and sales tools, a complete and aggressively priced ancillary product line, StarMenu+ to enhance sales presentations, and a new ordering system. Customized brochures also will be available to dealers.

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