VW cuts dividend as first-half profits plunge on pandemic sales dropVW cuts dividend as first-half profits plunge on pandemic sales drop
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is seen on a car parked on a street in Paris

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen unveiled a first-half operating loss on Thursday after suffering a 27% drop in vehicle deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the carmaker to slash its dividend.

Volkswagen predicted a significant decline in full-year sales from 2019 levels, even though it said global sales had staged a gradual recovery as lockdowns eased.

The multi-brand car and truck maker said it expects its 2020 operating result before and including special items to be severely lower than in 2019, albeit in positive territory.

The carmaker posted an adjusted operating loss of 800 million euros ($940 million) in the January to June period, down from a 10-billion euro adjusted operating profit in the year-earlier period, and said it will cut its dividend for 2019.

It proposed a dividend of 4.80 euros per ordinary share and 4.86 euros per preferred share, down from a previous proposal for 6.50 euros per ordinary share and 6.56 euros per preferred share.

By contrast, French rival PSA Group on Wednesday delivered a second-quarter profit and reiterated its goal of achieving margins of over 4.5% in its automotive unit this year, even though these were down to 3.7% in the first half.

($1 = 0.8501 euros)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Thomas Seythal and Maria Sheahan)