BRUSSELS -- D'Ieteren, Belgium's biggest auto retailer, said on Monday core revenues grew by about 6 percent in the first half of 2005 and it expected to boost its share of a shrinking market for the whole year thanks to demand for new models.
It also repeated a May forecast that its consolidated net current profit for the year would be little changed.
"It's the same," said spokeswoman Catherine Vandepopeliere.
In 2004 its consolidated net current profit rose 14 percent to 96.4 million euros ($116.5 million) on 10.1 percent higher revenues of 3.34 billion euros.
D'Ieteren, majority owner of Avis Europe, Europe's largest but struggling car rental agency, did not give a specific core revenue figure for the first half of the year, preferring to wait until Sept. 2 when it publishes full results for the period.
But it said it had a 18.78 percent share of new car registrations for the period against 17.26 percent a year earlier.
"This strong increase results from investments in new model launches," it said in a brief trading update, citing Audi and Skoda.
D'Ieteren said it kept its objective of achieving a share of about 19 percent of those registrations for the whole year, up on 18.1 percent last year.
"It seems realistic given how they already have more than 18 percent," said Degroof analyst Marc Leemans.
In line with industry forecasts, D'Ieteren expected the entire Belgian market to total 470,000 new car registrations this year, down by about 3 percent.
D'Ieteren also said its majority-owned Belron vehicle glass repair and replacement business saw revenues rise by about 12 percent in the first half.
"For 2005 Belron expects continued revenue growth," it said.
Last month Avis Europe unveiled a 110.5 million-pound ($200 million) rights issue to fund a recovery plan and spoke of a recent strengthening in the market.