JOHANNESBURG - Ferrai raised its 2017 profit target as roll-outs of limited-edition supercars, including the FXX K Evo racing model unveiled last week, helped the Italian carmaker achieve a long-held goal two years early.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation would come to about e1billion (R16.3bn), the Maranello-based manufacturer said yesterday. This was 14 percent more than the 2016 figure. Third-quarter adjusted Ebitda jumped more than 13 percent to e266 million.

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne has aimed for e1bn in operating profit since he replaced Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo at the helm of Ferrari in 2014. Reaching it before 2019 opens the way for the 65 year-old chief executive to launch his final business plan for the supercar maker before he retires.

The new five-year strategy, to be presented early next year, is set to include expansion into new segments, including sport utility vehicles, to win more customers with less-extreme models. Still, Ferrari is not abandoning its most loyal aficionados and will continue bringing out special models such as last year’s LaFerrari Aperta convertible or the FXX K Evo, which was introduced to the public at the annual Finali mondiali racing event late last month.

Shares down

Ferrari shares were trading down 1.4 percent at 1102.40 as of 12.40pm yesterday in Milan after falling as much as 4.3 percent following the announcement of the full-year forecast, which about matches the e1.02bn average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has gained 85 percent this year, valuing Ferrari at e19.5bn.

Ferrari, which moved its legal headquarters to the Netherlands when it was spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV last year, has already outlined plans to bring out more high-priced, restricted-volume models this year to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

The FXX-K Evo will be produced in an “extremely limited” number and destined only for competitions rather than fitted out for standard road use.

Laboratory car

The “closed-wheel laboratory car” will be aimed at “a small, highly select group of Ferrari clients: supercar enthusiasts eager to share the development of technologically innovative content”, according to Ferrari.

Ferrari’s adjusted Ebitda jumped from e634m in 2013, the last full year under Montezemolo, to e880m last year.

The business plan through to 2022 could include doubling operating profit, people familiar with the project said in August. The carmaker was predicting adjusted earnings of e950m for this year.

SUVs will not play a role in Ferrari’s earnings for a while.

While the carmaker is committed to the models, it will take more than two years to decide on their production, which will be limited to preserve exclusivity, Marchionne said in October.