Daimler Q4 earnings dip 29 percent on anti-trust set-aside

AP News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2015 3:31 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German car and truck maker Daimler AG says net profit fell 29 percent in the fourth quarter as the company set aside 600 million euros ($684 million) for potential costs from a European Union anti-trust investigation of truck makers.

Net profit for the October to December quarter fell to 1.187 billion euros from 1.676 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 11 percent to 35.749 billion euros.

The company's full-year profit figures nonetheless beat analyst estimates, and the company saw stronger profitability at its flagship Mercedes luxury brand. Daimler said it would raise its dividend to shareholders and give fat profit-sharing checks to its workers.

The maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars said Thursday it made 7.29 billion euros in 2014, a decrease of 16 percent from 2013 when Daimler had gains from selling its stake in aerospace company EADS. Sales rose 10 percent for the Mercedes brand.

Excluding one-time effects such as the EADS sale and the set-aside for possible anti-trust penalties, earnings rose for the full year. The company said it would increase its dividend to 2.45 euros per share from 2.25 euros.

Daimler also said it was paying out 4,350 euros in profit-sharing to eligible workers.

Mercedes saw its profit margins improve to 8.3 percent in the quarter from 7.5 percent the year before as the company saw strong demand for the new version of its S-Class luxury sedan.

Operating earnings for the full year rose to 10.8 billion euros, the company's highest ever, and up from 8.0 billion in 2013 and ahead of estimates

EU officials informed truck makers in November they were suspected of colluding on pricing.