After contracting by 10% in 2016, the new vehicle market grew by 9% in 2017. This recovery continued in 2018 when the sector expanded by 14%, with a total of 11,376 units sold. This strong performance can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the resumption of public orders; resumed activity in the construction sector; increased agricultural production, particularly of cocoa, coffee and cashews; and rising household consumption and improved purchasing power.
The Ivorian car distribution market is highly fragmented, with 16 players in total. The smallest is Tranchivoire, which has a 0.03% market share, while the largest is CFAO Automotive, which holds 40.8%. Japanese brands remain the biggest sellers, accounting for around 50% of all vehicles sold. Chinese and South Korean automotives, meanwhile, experienced a sharp decline in revenue due to after-sales service issues.
In 2018 more than 3700 4×4 vehicles were sold, accounting for 37% of all car sales. The second-largest category was pick-up trucks, which represented 29% of sales, or 2630 units. This was followed by saloon cars, which made up 17% of the total, or 1800 sales. The remaining 22% comprised other types of vehicles. These sales enabled the new vehicles segment to generate roughly CFA400bn ($687.6m) in overall turnover.
Of the seven firms operating in the distribution compartment of the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), only two companies, CFAO Automotive and Tractafric Motors (TMCI), make up the automotive distribution subsector. The former is a subsidiary of French specialised distribution company CFAO and the latter is a branch of the French industrial and automotive distributor OPTORG.
A long-time market leader in Côte d’Ivoire, CFAO has developed a multi-brand offer, with international brands accounting for around 90% of its sales. At CFA116bn ($199.4m), CFAO had the 10th-highest capitalisation of any company listed on the BRVM in 2018, and the largest in the distribution segment. The company sold 4644 vehicles in 2018, up 22% compared to 3793 in 2017. With a growth in turnover of 9%, amounting to CFA98bn ($168.5m), the company closed 2018 with a net profit of CFA65bn ($111.7m).
The CFAO title saw its share price increase considerably in 2018, recording an overall performance of 62% at CFA640 ($1.10) during the year. The net unitary dividend paid for FY 2018 amounted to CFA31.50 ($0.05), compared to CFA9.90 ($0.02) in FY 2017. The security’s net yield and price-earnings ratio (PER) on December 31, 2018 were 1.55% and 28.54, respectively. In comparison, the distribution segment saw a net yield and PER of 4.39% and 15.68, respectively. Meanwhile the BRVM recorded 7.27% and 11.62.
TMCI’s activity largely focused on two distribution segments: Africauto, for the import and sale of Hyundai, Mazda and Ford brands; and Alliance Automobiles for BMW and Mini Cooper. The company also operates a vehicle rental service with Europcar and a Michelin tyre service. In 2018 TMCI sold 2034 new vehicles, up 7% from 1904 the previous year. Despite good commercial performance, the company lost 1.5 percentage points of its market share, which fell from 19.4% to 17.9% due to the low competitiveness of its subsidiary Alliance Automobiles, which saw a 12% decline in sales. As a result, at the end of FY 2018 TMCI generated CFA51.5bn ($88.5m) in turnover, almost identical to that posted in 2017. Despite this, the company tripled its net profit to CFA2trn ($3.4bn) due to reduced operating expenses. However, TMCI stock market value fell by 57% in 2018, with a yield of 3.1% and a PER of 29.06 at year’s end.
The automotive distribution subsector displays relatively low yields and transaction volumes, with 12.7% of flows recorded in the BRVM distribution sector and 0.27% on the global market. The new vehicle market, however, has strong growth potential. This has already been reinforced by the implementation of the Finance Law in the last quarter 2018, which reduced the age of used vehicles that can enter Côte d’Ivoire to five years.