French carmaker Renault said today it achieved record profitability in the first half as emerging-market sales surged, more than offsetting exchange-rate challenges. 

The group's operating margin rose 5.2% to €1.914 billion, or 6.4% of sales, from 6.2% a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.4% to €29.957 billion, the carmaker said. 

Renault, which is exploring a closer tie-up with 43.4%-owned alliance partner Nissan, has expanded its low-cost lineup and emerging market presence in recent years. 

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the results were the fruit of Renault's "strategy of regional diversification".

The company said its net income fell 16.3% to €2.04 billion, weighed down by a restructuring charge of about €150m as well as a weaker US dollar, Argentinian peso and Brazilian real currencies. 

Renault said earlier this month that first-half sales volumes had risen almost 10% to an all-time high, helped by rebounding markets in Russia and South America. 

The negative currency effects led to a 0.5% decline in automotive revenues, which dipped to €26.867 billion despite pricing improvements. 

The overall results were broadly in line with analyst expectations. 

The company said new European emissions-test standards continued to add "uncertainty" to the second-half outlook. The company declined to quantify the effect of any disruption.

Mercedes maker Daimler and French auto parts supplier Valeo have both warned of an earnings hit from the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLTP) standards taking effect in September. 

There is "still some work to do" for Renault to meet vehicle certification deadlines, Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore said, although he added that Renault did not expect the issue to have any significant negative impact on its business.