Daimler keeps profit target despite uncertainties
BERLIN - Daimler is sticking with its profit expectation for this year despite the disasters in Japan and uncertainty from turmoil in the Arab world, CEO Dieter Zetsche told shareholders on Wednesday.
Zetsche faced more than 5,000 shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Berlin with the benefit of a strong year behind the company. Net profit was €4.7 billion ($6.8 billion), up from a loss of €2.6 billion in 2009.
He cautioned the full impact from the quake, tsunami and nuclear breakdowns in Japan was still unclear. Daimler has 13,000 workers in the country, mostly at truck subsidiary Mitsubishi Fuso.
"The full consequences cannot yet be predicted," Zetsche said in the text of his speech, adding that Daimler had so far suffered no parts shortages due to the troubles in Japan.
"It's also still difficult to predict how events in Japan will afffect the global economy and growth around that world," he said. "The same applies to the political unrest in parts of the Arab world. Basically we can say only one thing with certainty: So far there are no signs that the global economy has been knocked off its path to recovery in the longer term."
Mitsubishi plants there had to be shut down after the March 11 disaster, and the main plant at Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, resumed work only two weeks go. Outside Japan the company has experienced no interruptions.
Zetsche said Stuttgart-based Daimler will make "significantly higher" profit this year than last year, when it made €7.2 billion ($10.3 billion) in operating earnings. The company uses operating earnings, which exclude financial items such as interest and taxes, for its outlook instead of the net figure.
The maker of Mercedes-Benz cars also said it intends to cut carbon dioxide emissions from its fleet in Europe, aiming for an average 125 grams per kilometre by 2016. That is a 20 per cent cut from 158 grams today. The company said the goal would be achieved through more efficient use of internal combustion engines as well as adding alternative propulsion such as electrics.
The company said Tuesday it was forming a joint venture with parts maker Robert Bosch GmbH to develop and manufacture electric motors.
Daimler shares traded up 0.5 per cent at €50.72.
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