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DUCATI QUICK OFF THE GRID

Singing from the European Covid-recovery hymn sheet with gusto in its 2021 first-quarter results, Ducati can also claim to have narrowly beaten pre-pandemic turnover and profit levels in the equivalent three months of 2019. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Quarterly revenue climbed by 37.4% to £176m. Operating profit reached £18.3m, against a loss of £870,000 in the same period last year. At that time, an initial deadly wave of Covid infections surging through northern Italy had shuttered Ducati’s Bologna factory and closed dealerships during March, slashing output and sales.

With production long since back on stream, and in-demand V4 Multistrada and Streetfighter models leading the charge, this latest quarter saw global retail sales increase by 33.3% to 12,803 bikes. Volume was also 2% up on the quantity leaving dealer showrooms in early 2019. 

Around 52% of them were sold in Europe. Italy remained the brand’s biggest European market, accounting for 2354. Germany followed, responsible for a further 1275. Elsewhere, the USA was Ducati’s biggest export destination, selling 1723 machines, 13.5% of worldwide headcount.

Split into style sectors, the Scrambler sub-brand achieved most growth, 49.6% up to 2635. A 46.8% improvement for naked machines, spanning Monster and Diavel models as well the fast-selling new Streetfighter V4, reached a higher tally of 3629. 

Top of the pile volume-wise was dual-sport, fronted by the V4 Multistrada headline adventure act and abetted by the Hypermotard. Sales in that sector hit 4009, a 37.7% rise. Sports products, covering Panigale superbikes and supersport machines, made a more modest contribution, increasing by just 2.8% to 2530. 

Quarterly production rose by 15.5% to 15,470. And commenting on this gain, Ducati chief executive Claudio Domenicali said: “Even more remarkable is the size of our order portfolio at the end of the quarter, which is the best-ever with an extraordinary 93% growth from 2020 and 135% compared to 2019.”

But he ended on words of caution: “Supply and transport are complex, with delivery delays and a shortage of various raw materials. This makes it difficult to satisfy all the demand from customers. But we are strongly motivated to do everything we can to reduce the inconvenience caused by this situation.”

[€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 7 May 2021]

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