FRANKFURT - Porsche AG said on Thursday it would publish quarterly revenue figures next week for the first time ever, in a bid to reassure investors that its business is on track despite a strong euro and a weak economy.
The world's most profitable carmaker has always refused to issue quarterly earnings reports, saying they are of no benefit to shareholders and encourage a short-termist business strategy.
But its stock has been one of the worst performers in a weak sector since the start of the year, falling by more than a quarter and underperforming an index of its European peers by 16 percent as investors fret about falling sales of its sports cars and its exposure to the weak U.S. market.
The company will report nine-month unit sales, revenue and production figures and is expected to give guidance on its outlook for the year to the end of July. It reports profits only on a half-yearly basis.
"What we're doing next week is not a quarterly report. But we've discussed the fact that in the past we had a long time period from early March until the middle of September where we had no company figures," a Porsche spokesman said.
Porsche has made more money in the past three years than in the previous half century by selling just two types of fast car to a small number of people, but has entered a new market segment recently with its Cayenne SUV.
It has said for some time that it will struggle to sell as many of its aging 911 and Boxster sports cars this year and is banking on the Cayenne to help it reach its sales target.
But the model was a late entrant in the key U.S. SUV market, and went on sale just as economic malaise was heightened by the war in Iraq. A weak dollar, which makes Porsches more expensive across the Atlantic, also is likely to have weighed.
"The inventory of this newly-launched Cayenne is already starting to build up in the U.S., which is almost unheard of for a new Porsche model," Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein analyst Thomas Aney, who rates the stock "buy," said in a recent note.
Porsche sells roughly half its cars in the United States, a strategy which helped its profits soar in the early 1980s but almost put it out of business in the second half of the decade when the dollar weakened.
It has learned its lesson since then, fully hedging its exposure to the dollar for the next four years. Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking was quoted recently as saying that as a result he was "very relaxed" about the euro's recent rise.
Analysts expect the company to reconfirm its target of a 20-percent rise in unit sales to about 65,000 cars this year. It is expected to post 2002/2003 pre-tax profit of 940 million euros, up from 829 million the previous year, according to analysts polled by Reuters Research.