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Ferrari Swerves Questions Over New CEO After Profit Slowdown

Ferrari Swerves Questions Over New CEO After Profit Slowdown

Ferrari gave no indication on Tuesday of who it was lining up to replace Louis Camilleri as chief executive as analysts said the luxury carmaker appeared to be touching the brakes on its profit outlook.

MILAN: Ferrari gave no indication on Tuesday of who it was lining up to replace Louis Camilleri as chief executive as analysts said the luxury carmaker appeared to be touching the brakes on its profit outlook.

Italy’s ‘Cavallino Rampante’, or ‘Prancing Horse’, forecast that its adjusted core earnings would be between 1.45 billion euros ($1.7 billion) and 1.5 billion euros this year, after falling 10% to 1.14 billion euros in 2020.

John Elkann, Ferrari’s Chairman and acting CEO told analysts it had set up a search committee to identify the right successor to Camilleri, who stepped down in December, but provided no further details.

“We want to take the necessary time to find the best possible CEO,” the scion of the Agnelli family, which controls Ferrari through its holding company EXOR, said.

Asked about the key criteria, Chief Financial Officer Antonio Picca Piccon declined to elaborate on the search for a new CEO, who could face a challenging first year.

Analysts at Citi said while Ferrari had posted good fourth quarter results, as expected, 2021 was more problematic.

“Guidance was somewhat disappointing, in our view,” they said, including the forecast for a 350 million euro free cash flow compared to a 675 million euro cash generation in 2019.

Shares in Milan-listed Ferrari closed down 3%.

In November, at third-quarter results, Camilleri said Ferrari was set to enter 2021 with a very strong order book, adding “we should have a pretty strong year”.

Car shipments fell back below 10,000 units last year as the group recovered from a seven-week production suspension in early 2020 triggered by the coronavirus health crisis.

However, Ferrari said on Tuesday that production had recovered in line with plans in the second half of the year.

Picca Piccon said orders for its cars were at record levels, up 22% on last year and covering the whole of 2021 and beyond.

“Cancellations remained well within our average experience and were actually lower during 2019,” he said.

(Editing by Keith Weir, Jan Harvey and Alexander Smith)

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