German car and truck maker Daimler reports 4th quarter net loss of $482 million

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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STUTTGART, Germany - German car and truck maker Daimler AG lost C352 million ($482 million) in the fourth quarter amid the global economic slump, contributing to a larger-than-expected loss on the year and sending shares down sharply.
The figure announced Thursday compares with a C1.53 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2009, which was due in part to charges at Chrysler LLC, with which Daimler was once merged.
Revenue for the October-December period was C21.3 billion, down from C23.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.
For the full year, the company said it lost C2.6 billion, compared with a net profit of C1.4 billion in 2008. Revenue was 20 per cent lower at C79 billion from C98 billion in 2008.
The result was significantly worse than expected by twenty-six analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a loss of C1.7 billion.
Daimler said its management board has recommended that no dividend be paid for the year.
The news sent Daimler shares down nearly 8 per cent to C30.53 in Frankfurt morning trading.
Daimler, based in Stuttgart, was cautiously optimistic, however, saying that though the economic crisis is not over, it expects growth in emerging economies to help its business.
"The world economy is still in a period of transition at the beginning of 2010," Daimler said in its report.
"There is very little hard evidence that a self-sustaining, lasting upswing has actually started. However, the ongoing solid growth of emerging markets such as China and India is exerting a positive influence."
Despite the glum results and outlook, the company reported positive fourth quarter revenue gains compared to the third quarter in all divisions: Mercedes-Benz Cars, which includes the luxury brands Mercedes-Benz and Maybach, as well as the compact Smart brand.
Trucks, vans and buses also reported gains in revenue compared to the third quarter. Daimler is the world's largest truckmaker with brands including Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, and Mitsubishi-Fuso.
Daimler said it expected to increase unit sales at all the divisions in 2010. The company said the upper-premium automobile segment is likely to be stronger than the overall car market, which is perhaps oversold at the moment because of government fleet renewal schemes, known as cash-for-clunkers in the United States.
The earnings follow an announcement late Wednesday renewing Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche's contract until Dec. 31, 2013.
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Organizations: Daimler AG, Chrysler LLC, Mercedes-Benz Freightliner

Geographic location: STUTTGART, Germany, Frankfurt China India United States

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