Volkswagen (VWAGY) said Friday it had better-than-expected profit of EUR 8.8 billion ($ 10.7 billion) after tax in 2020 despite the pandemic. The world’s second largest automaker said the rapid recovery of China, its largest domestic market, and robust luxury vehicle sales improved the bottom line. The company gave an optimistic outlook for this year, saying it was aiming for profits in the upper part of its forecast range of 5.0% to 6.5% return on sales, and projected sales would be “significantly higher” provided the pandemic succeeds contained. Manufacturing companies such as the three large German automobile manufacturers Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler were able to maintain sales and earnings better than companies from the services, tourism and air travel sectors. The result was 37% lower than in 2019. Sales fell by 11.8% to 222.9 billion euros, but fell less than the decline in sales of 16.4% to 9.2 million vehicles. Volkswagen thus surrendered the title of the largest automobile manufacturer, which it had held since 2016, to Toyota, which sold 9.5 million vehicles. Volkswagen ordinary shares were quoted 1.2% higher according to the income statement.
• • Facebook (FB) announced tentative deals with three Australian publishers on Friday, the day after parliament passed a bill that would make digital giants pay for news. Facebook announced that letters of intent had been signed with independent news organizations Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media. The trade agreements are subject to full agreements being signed within the next 60 days, according to a Facebook statement. “These agreements will bring Facebook a new list of premium journalism, including some previously paid content,” the statement said. Google (toget) has or is about to sign content licensing agreements with some of Australia’s largest news publishers, including Rupert Murdochs News Corp. and Seven West Media.
• The parent company of British Airways and Iberia On Friday it announced it lost € 6.9 billion last year when the pandemic caused an almost complete collapse in international air travel and called for digital passports to revive travel. IAG’s Loss after taxes compared to a profit of 1.7 billion euros in the previous year. Sales fell by 70% to 7.8 billion euros. The outlook is so uncertain that the company did not provide any targets or estimates for 2021. The passenger capacity of the IAG airlines in 2020 was only 33% compared to the previous year. In the current quarter it is estimated at only 20% of the same period last year.
• The following companies are planning IPOs in the coming week: InnovAge Holding (INNV), Price $ 17- $ 19, managed by JP Morgan / Barclays; Oscar Health (OSCR), Price $ 32-34, managed by Goldman Sachs / Morgan Stanley; Roblox (RBLX)The price is $ 45 and is managed by Goldman Sachs / Morgan Stanley.