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BMW earnings lag some estimates, names new finance chief

The logo of German automaker BMW is seen in Brussels

BERLIN (Reuters) -BMW reported a 12% rise in fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday that lagged some analysts' expectations, sending shares in the German automaker as much as 3.7% lower.

Jefferies analysts said quarterly pretax profit missed expectations by 5%, and full-year earnings were also below consensus, despite jumping 50% - mostly due to the inclusion of the carmaker's Chinese joint venture.

Deliveries rose just over 10% in the quarter as an easing of chip supply problems offset the impact of lockdowns in China, while group revenue climbed 28% to 142.6 billion euros ($150.7 billion), versus a Refinitiv SmartEstimate of 141.6 billion.

The company also said it was promoting Walter Mertl to chief financial officer to replace Nicolas Peter when he retires in May.

BMW, which is due to report full annual results on March 15, warned late last year that although it expected improved sales in the fourth quarter, rising inflation and interest rates would start to weigh on demand, particularly in Europe.

The carmaker has so far weathered supply chain troubles brought on by the pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine in part by raising prices.

Its autos business reported an 8.6% margin on 2022 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 10.6 billion euros and cash flow of 11.1 billion euros.

Almost half of the latter came from a cash contribution from Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA).

It proposed a dividend to shareholders of 8.50 euros, up from 5.80 a year earlier.

BMW said last February it would pay 3.7 billion euros to take majority control of BBA after securing the necessary licence from Beijing, increasing its stake to 75% from 50%.

The company said over the year it had faced higher costs of sale, including materials, commodities, logistics and refinancing.

BMW's operations beyond automobiles include motorcycles and financial services.

($1 = 0.9466 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Matthias Williams and Mark Potter)