MILAN -- Ferrari reported a 14 percent rise in first-quarter core earnings, driven by strong sales of its entry-level Portofino model and increased shipments in all regions.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at 311 million euros ($348 million).
Net income surged 22 percent to 180 million euros. Revenue improved 13 percent to 940 million euros.
Shipments rose 23 percent to 2,610 vehicles. Shipments rose in all regions, with China up 79 percent to 328 vehicles. Part of the increase stemmed from accelerated deliveries to China ahead of new emissions regulations, Ferrari said.
Ferrari stuck to its full-year financial targets. For 2019, the automaker expects adjusted EBITDA to rise around 10 percent to 1.2 billion to 1.25 billion euros. It expects sales to increase more than 3 percent to top 3.5 billion euros.
Last year's business plan set a target for adjusted EBITDA in excess of 1.3 billion euros in 2020, but CEO Louis Camilleri said earlier this year he was "very bullish" and might raise the target, betting on new models and special editions at premium prices to lure customers.
Asked about a possible upgrade, Camilleri told analysts he preferred to wait for second quarter results due to uncertainties including currencies, tariff disputes and Brexit.
"We feel pretty confident we'll approach the high end of our (guidance) range," Camilleri said. "But obviously, given the strength of this quarter, we feel pretty good about the year."
Current targets look "extremely conservative," Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.
Ferrari is starting to ship its first 488 Pista Spider models this quarter, while the new Ferrari Monza limited series will be shipped starting from fourth quarter.
"Ferrari's first quarter results confirm it's sailing far away from current auto industry trends," IG Markets analyst Vincenzo Longo said. Ferrari is "reaffirming itself once again as luxury brand with a clear value added," he said.
Ferrari will unveil its first industrialized hybrid car at the end of this month.
"Hybridization is the most important challenge Ferrari will have to face in the next period, a crossroads that could also include some risks," Longo said.
Camilleri, who took over last year from late boss Sergio Marchionne, said China was one of Ferrari's great opportunities, though it would require some time.
"I think with the advent of our hybrid models and of the Purosangue (SUV), we will clearly be in a better position to exploit the opportunities that there are in China" he said.
Automotive News and Bloomberg contributed to this report.