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RECOVERY WATCHWORD FOR YAMAHA

Like everybody else, Yamaha’s full-year results were a tale of two halves. Covid kicked in to slash sales in the first six months everywhere except China. And then worldwide in-depth recovery was only restrained by inventory shortages in the second half. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Annual revenue for the dominant Yamaha Land Mobility division fell by 15.5% to £6.536bn. Within that, turnover from motorcycles was 17.4% down to £5.687bn. Recreational vehicles (ORVs, ATVs, etc) were 1.1% up to £551m. Smart power (e-bicycles) dropped by 2% to £298m. However, combined Land Mobility operating profit sank by 55.7% to just £128m.

Global motorcycle sales volume declined by 24.8% to 3.802 million machines. Emerging markets took the worst hit. Sales in Asia retreated by 27.8% to 3.077 million. Latin America and others were 12% down to 403,000. Individual countries varied widely. Indonesian volume plummeted by 51%. The Philippines lost 34% and India was 19% in arrears. But the Chinese added 16% and Brazil equalled its previous year’s tally. Their overall revenue contribution was 22% lower at £4.172m.

Developed markets performed better. Volume in Europe was reduced by 3.2% to 180,000, with associated revenue just 1% down to £908m. North American bike numbers fell by 11.1% to 56,000 and turnover slipped by 7.1% to £271m. Yahama’s domestic Japanese sales were 2.3% down to 86,000 and revenue retreated by only 1.3% to £260m.

The results statement noted that production didn’t keep up with rapidly recovering overall demand in the developed world. Temporary operational suspensions at Yamaha’s main Iwata plant in Japan and its factory in France, owing to anti-Covid measures, were held responsible. And the clear intimation was sales progress would have been much greater if sufficient inventory had been available.

On the back of that, 2021 forecasts are upbeat. Yamaha estimates that Asian countries will recover by about 900,000 bikes this year and Europe should be around 12% up to more than 200,000. Worldwide motorcycle revenue is expected to rise by 17% to in the region of £6.7bn, slightly higher than in 2019. Improving profitability is also apparently being addressed.

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