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Daimler roars ahead

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Daimler roars ahead
Photo: DPA
17:03 CEST+02:00
The German luxury car maker Daimler, owner of Mercedes Benz, posted Thursday a third quarter net profit that far exceeded market expectations, and substantially raised its full-year target.

Daimler said net profit for the three month period jumped to €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion), dwarfing the €56 million it reported in the same period of 2009, when the auto industry was in a global crisis.

The group added that it was now aiming for core earnings of more than €7 billion, compared with its previous estimate of €6 billion.

The net profit figure largely surpassed an average analyst forecast of €1.12 billion compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.

"Daimler assumes it will be able to continue along this successful path also in the fourth quarter," a statement issued by the Stuttgart-based automaker said.

The group's closely watched core earnings before interest and taxes leapt to €2.42 billion from €470 million in the third quarter of 2009, on a 30 percent gain in sales to €25.1 billion.

Analysts had forecast core earnings of €1.92 billion and €24.1 billion in sales.

Among the special factors that helped Daimler's results was an adjustment of health-care and pension benefits at its Daimler Trucks North America unit worth €183 million.

A favourable verdict in a lawsuit that involved Daimler contributed €218 million to the group's bottom line as well, it said.

But Daimler operations were in large part responsible for the leap in earnings, with unit sales climbing by 23 percent in the quarter to 475,100 cars and commercial vehicles worldwide.

Shares in the company gained 0.17 percent to €47.7 in midday trading, while the German DAX index of leading stocks was 0.64 percent higher overall.

AFP/rm

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