Ferrari stock dives after CEO says targets 'aspirational'

The logo for Ferrari is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Sports carmaker Ferrari confirms its 2018 earnings forecasts after posting an 18-percent rise in second-quarter profits and a rise in deliveries. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

MILAN — Shares in sportscar Ferrari tanked Wednesday after the new CEO told analysts that an annual revenue target set by the late former chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, was "aspirational."

Louis Camilleri, who is also chairman at long-time Ferrari sponsor Philip Morris International, had a difficult inaugural analyst call. Shares dropped 8 percent on his comments, from 113 euros to 104 euros ($121.30) in the last 20 minutes of Milan trading despite strong quarterly results.

Asked about Marchionne's target to reach 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in revenue by 2022, which will be filled out in detail in a business plan presentation next month, Camilleri said the goals had been reviewed by the board and "were aspirational."

"Clearly, there were plans behind them. In the capital markets day we will cross the T's and dot the I's, and tell you how we think we will get there. But we will have to disclose potential risk to that and also significant opportunities that we see going forward," said Camilleri.

Camilleri later sought to clarify his comments, saying he did not mean that the targets were too ambitious, adding that the plans will be outlined in greater detail at the investor day.

Ferrari stock has been the hardest hit of the companies Marchionne led since he was replaced on July 21 due to serious complications from surgery. He was also replaced as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and CNH Industrial chairman. Marchionne, 66, died four days later.

The new business plan is expected to outline Ferrari's decision to start making SUVs. Marchionne also had discussed repositioning the brand as a luxury goods company beyond cars.

Earlier, Ferrari confirmed its 2018 earnings forecasts after posting an 18-percent rise in net income for the three months through June, to 160 million euros ($187 million).

Sales of 12-cylinder models boosted volumes by 5 percent to 2,436 vehicles. Europe and North America led with 7-percent increases, while sales growth in greater China more than offset a decrease in the rest of Asia.

Ferrari confirmed its 2018 outlook for shipments of more than 9,000 units with operating profit above 1.1 billion euros on more than 3.4 billion euros in revenues.

Camilleri, 63, has been on the Ferrari board since 2015 and is chairman at Philip Morris International. He was Philip Morris chairman and CEO from 2008 to 2013.

Camilleri told analysts that he and Marchionne "shared ambitions for the company," but that the two had different management styles and that he would be focused entirely on Ferrari, while Marchionne was deeply engaged in two other companies.

The new CEO said one of his chief tasks will be to protect Ferrari's considerable brand equity.

"I think my record as CEO speaks for itself in terms of my ability to manage complex and highly regulated industries," Camilleri said. "I think I am a team builder. And Sergio had a lot of other things on his plate. I have a singular focus on Ferrari and will be her permanently. I think that will make a difference."

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