Daimler beats forecasts in preliminary 2020 results

News Desk:

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Jan 29, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Mercedes-Benz parent company
Daimler on Thursday released preliminary earnings data for 2020 showing
higher-than-expected operating profit in a year battered by the coronavirus
pandemic.

At 6.6 billion euros ($8.0 billion), profit before interest and taxes
(EBIT) was up by around half on 2019’s figure and well above the group’s
previous forecast of 4.3 billion euros, the partial data showed.

But Daimler’s 2019 earnings had been undermined by billions in costs from
the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal.

Adjusted for those one-off charges, 2020’s profits were down 16 percent
year-on-year.

Like most of the industry, Stuttgart-based Daimler was especially badly hit
in the first half of 2020 by factory and showroom closures imposed by Berlin
as part of nationwide lockdowns to rein in the spread of the coronavirus.

Continuing legal woes including dieselgate weighed on earnings to the tune
of 164 million euros, while a far-reaching restructuring slated to bring at
least 10,000 job cuts cost 1.9 billion.

Media reports suggest further posts could go in a drive to cut 20 percent
of costs by 2025, announced in October.

Looking ahead to 2021, the carmaker pointed to “successful cost
discipline… and expected good underlying demand” as factors supporting
“positive business development”.

But Daimler is struggling with an industry-wide shortage of semiconductors
and continuing coronavirus disruptions that “will probably impact the first
quarter,” it said.

Lack of vital computer chips forced production to slow at several of its
sites this month.

The Mercedes-Benz maker added that its optimistic statements “are made
under the assumption of no further COVID-19 lockdowns”.

The group plans to publish full 2020 financial data on February 18.

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