Lotus Turns a Profit for the 'First Time in Years'

Simplify, then add profits.

Gerlach Delissen—Corbis via Getty Images

Lotus has, for the "first time in many years," reported a profit, according to the press release from the automaker. Lotus called this event a "radical financial turnaround" and "a major milestone" in the history of the company.

Specifically, the recently-minted Geely subsidiary posted a positive EBITDA (that's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for you non-finance majors) last year of £2 million or $2.6 million in today's exchange rates—a significant achievement considering the company lost the equivalent of over $21 million by the same metric the year before that. 

Now, for the fine print. While Lotus recorded a positive EBITDA, you might be thinking, "Interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization don't sound like insignificant expenses at all." Well, they aren't. In fact, measuring by Profits Before Taxes, Lotus was still in the red by $14.54 million (or £11.2 million). While that sounds bad, don't write off today's news as financial posturing just yet. For some perspective, Lotus posted a negative PBT of a whopping $53.5 million the year before last, marking almost $30 million less cash lost year-to-year. With that momentum, we wouldn't be surprised if the boutique car firm was straight-up profitable by the end of this fiscal year.

"This is a proud moment for Lotus and to have achieved so much is testament to the hard work of all our staff. Our vastly improved profitability, together with an increase in revenue means that for the first time in many years Lotus is now a self-sufficient and sustainable business," said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales.

Lotus isn't attributing its newfound, mild financial success to some fancy new crossover (although that is coming), but to an expanding network of dealerships worldwide and the introduction of special edition versions of existing cars. These include the Elise Sprint 220, the Exige Cup 380, and of course the Evora GT430, the brand's most powerful road car ever made.