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DaimlerChrysler records $0.6bn net profit

DaimlerChrysler's results for the year 2003 included an operating profit of $7.2 billion after restructuring costs of $591 million at Chrysler, and a capital gain of $1.3 billion from the sale of its MTU Aero Engines business. Net income dropped to $0.6 billion from $5.9 billion, including positive special effects totalling $1.8 billion, a year earlier, due to the group's lower operating profit and an impairment of $2.5 billion on DaimlerChrysler's investment in EADS. DCX will propose an unchanged annual dividend of €1.50.

DaimlerChrysler sold 4.3 million vehicles in 2003, 200,000 down on 2002. Group revenues dropped 7% to $171.9 billion, but rose by 3% after adjustment for currency effects.

Mercedes Car sales fell to 1,216,900 units from 1,232,300 in 2002, but a richer model mix increased their value by 3% to $64.8 billion, which generated a $3.9 billion operating profit, up from 2002's $3.8 billion.

The Chrysler Group made an operating loss of $637 million compared with a profit of $0.8 billion a year earlier. Restructuring cost $591 million, without which the loss would have been about $47 million, still short of the targeted break-even. Worldwide, Chrysler Group sold 2.64 million vehicles, compared to 2.82 million in 2002. Chrysler Group revenues, hit by both volume decline and US incentive costs, dropped to $62.1 billion from $75.8 billion in 2002.

DaimlerChrysler's Commercial Vehicles division raised unit sales by 3% to 501,000 trucks, buses and vans to realize an operating profit of $1.1 billion comparing well will a $0.4 billion loss in 2002. Despite the appreciation of the euro, revenues of $35.9 billion were slightly higher than in 2002, but 7% up when adjusted for currency effects.

DaimlerChrysler expects a slight increase in operating profit in 2004 from ongoing operations, and foresees significantly improved earnings in 2005 and 2006, thanks to new models. It will launch some 50 new products in the years of 2004 through 2006.

- DaimlerChrysler confirmed that 2003 losses at its affiliate Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will exceed forecasts, and that the management is currently working on a revised mid-term business plan, due to be announced at the end of April.

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