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Renault's 2003 net income jumps 26.8% to €2,480 million

Renault grew revenues by 3.8% to €37,525 million last year, and its operating margin rose sharply in the second half-year. The group also benefited from an improvement in Nissan's earnings.

Amid sluggish trading conditions, Renault improved its performance in second-half 2003, in line with guidance, and stabilised its share of the world market at 4.1%. The group sold 2.39 million vehicles during the year, down 0.7%. In Europe, where the new vehicle market contracted by 1.6%, Renault kept its position as the leading brand for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles combined, with market shares of 10.6% and 15.1%, respectively. Renault continued to expand outside Western Europe, with sales growth of 9% aided by buoyant demand in Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia; the recovery of the Turkish market (127%); and an 18.8% rise in sales at the Romanian subsdiary Dacia. In Korea, the market fell nearly 18%, but Renault Samsung Motors grew its share of the passenger car market, to 10.8%. The Automobile Division contributed €35,535 million to group revenues, compared with €34,274 million in 2002, a 3.7% rise. Despite negative currency impacts, revenues grew thanks to an improvement in the mix and prices of new vehicles in Europe, one of the main factors being the success of the Mégane II range. Other elements mentioned by Renault as contributing to the upturn were steady growth in diesel sales, an increase in spare parts activity and a rise in sales of components to other companies, particularly Nissan. The Sales Financing Division reported a 5.1% year-on-year rise in its revenue contribution to €1,990 million, somewhat more than was contributed by Nissan's earnings growth. That contributed €1,705 million to Renault's 2003 pre-tax income of €3,023 million, which compared with €2,457 million in 2002. After tax and minorities, Renault had net income of €2,480 million, up 26.8% on 2002. Earnings per share works out to €9.32, compared with €7.53 in 2002.  Renault's operating margin increased to 4.3% in the second half, compared with 3.2% in the first, giving a total for the year of €1,402 million, or 3.7% of revenues. French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen is expected to report its full-year 2003 financial performance on 11 February.

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