BMW says spending to rise on autonomous, electric technology

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker BMW says this year's profits will at least equal last year's results as the company sinks billions into developing electric and autonomous car technology to meet expected changes in how people get from one place to another.

Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter said at an annual news conference Wednesday it expects group profit before tax to only be "at least in line" with 2017's record 10.7 billion euros (currently $13.1 billion), which was up 10 percent.

Peter said the company would allocate "an increasing amount" to research and development after spending 6.1 billion euros in 2017, an increase of a billion euros. He said BMW remained financially strong, enabling a record dividend of 4 euros per share.

BMW made 8.7 billion euros net profit last year, up 26 percent.