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YAMAHA GATHERS SPEED

Nine-monthly results for Yamaha’s motorcycle business, which constitutes the vast majority of its Land Mobility division, have easily outpaced last year. And turnover is a even slightly ahead of the same period in 2019. But Asian sales volumes and revenue haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels yet. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Global revenue across these three quarters from powered two-wheelers grew by 27.9% to £4.997bn, and beat the 2019 total by 1.4%. Asia was the biggest contributor, 29.9% up to £3.026bn but still 5.5% down on 2019. Smaller emerging markets led by Latin America did much better, stacking on 45.7% to £663m and easily in front of 2019 by 15.4%.

In the developed world, Europe delivered £807m, respectively improving on 2020 by 15.6% and the previous year by 16%. North America achieved double positivity too, 28% higher than last year at £239m and 13.7% up on 2019. Japan was behind the curve, though. Domestic turnover put on just 3.4% to £196m versus last year and dropped by 1.3% against 2019. 

Oceania — a posh name for Australia and New Zealand — simply isolated its Yamaha outposts from the depredations of Covid, adding 3.9% to £51m in the equivalent nine months of 2020 when the pandemic first emerged, followed by a further 35.4% to £69m this year so far. Proof that slamming your borders shut to disease-riddled foreigners was an efficacious solution?  

For 2021 to date, Yamaha’s worldwide wholesale volume recovered by 26.9% to 3.434 million motorcycles and scooters. That tally was nevertheless 10.1% behind headline figures in 2019. Emerging markets were largely responsible. Asian volume increased by 26% to 2.738 million machines this year but was 15% adrift from 2019. Other regions put on 44.4% to 410,000 but were 15% down against 2019.

However, developed market recovery was consistently stronger. European numbers, at 156,000, were respectively 7.6% up in 2021 and 3.3% higher versus 2019. North America rose by 33.3% to 52,000 and was 8.3% better off than two years previously. Japan has accounted for 78,000 bikes, an increase of 18.2% from 2020 and 9.9% from 2019.

Direct earnings data for Yamaha motorcycle operations is no longer available. But a fair idea can be extracted from Land Mobility performance — which also covers off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, plus pedal and electrically-assisted bicycles. Revenue for the division as a whole has risen by 29.3% to £5.742bn (of which 87% was generated from motorcycles). That was in turn a 4.3% improvement on the position at the end of Q3 in 2019. Operating profit soared to £393m, from a truly lamentable £58m in the same period last year, and was up by 71.1% against 2019.

Yamaha’s results presentation quoted pertinent factors affecting its full-year forecast. They are the usual litany of woes, such as global supply-chain disruptions, accelerating prices for raw materials, and the adverse impacts on parts procurement and production due to the resurgent pandemic in many Asian countries. It added an expectation that ongoing parts shortages will worsen.

But the company says it anticipates steady demand and expects developed motorcycle markets in Europe, the US and Japan to grow by about 10%. The picture for emerging markets, particularly those in Asia is far more mixed.

Yen-sterling currency translation at forex rates on 10 November        

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