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BMW full-year operating profit falls to 7.4 billion euros

LA Auto Show in Los Angeles

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW <BMWG.DE> said its 2019 operating profit fell 17% but record demand for high-margin sports utility vehicles helped the carmaker offset higher research and development spending.

Full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell to 7.411 billion euros (6.5 billion pounds), resulting in an operating margin in its automotive division of 4.9%, BMW said, pre-releasing figures before its annual press conference on March 18.

Thanks to record sales of 2.5 million vehicles in 2019, BMW said it would propose a divided of 2.50 euros per common share.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Thomas Escritt and Douglas Busvine)