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Daimler lifts targets again as Q3 profit surges

Daimler lifts targets again as Q3 profit surges

October 28th, 2010 by By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press in News

BERLIN (AP) - Car maker Daimler AG's third-quarter net earnings surged as strong sales in China and the U.S. helped push revenue 30 percent higher, prompting the company to raise its full-year forecast again.

Daimler reported Thursday net profit of 1.61 billion ($2.2 billion) for the July-September period, up from just 56 million a year earlier. Revenue climbed to 25.07 billion from 19.31 billion.

The company said it "assumes it will be able to continue along this successful path also in the fourth quarter" and now expects earnings before interest and taxes from its ongoing business of more than 7 billion this year.

In July, it had set a target of 6 billion - itself lifted from a previous outlook of 4 billion.

"Of course, the world economy is not yet as stable as it was before the recession, but we are confident that we will continue to operate successfully in our markets," CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.

Daimler's third-quarter earnings before interest and taxes increased to 2.42 billion from 470 million.

That figure was boosted by 183 million gain from the adjustment of health care and pension benefits at Daimler Trucks North America, and by a 218 million gain from a win in a lawsuit involving Daimler, the company said.

However, Daimler mainly credited the recovery of global auto markets and efficiency improvements for the gain.

It sold 475,110 vehicles, up 23 percent compared with last year's third quarter. The core Mercedes-Benz Cars division sold 317,496 cars worldwide, a climb of 17 percent, but the Daimler Trucks division also contributed a healthy increase - its sales climbed 44 percent to 94,813.

For the full year, Daimler said it now expects Mercedes-Benz Cars to produce EBIT from ongoing business of about 4.5 billion - up from the 4 billion it targeted in July. It set the forecast for Daimler Trucks at more than 1.1 billion - up from 1 billion.

For the year's first nine months, Daimler reported net profit of 3.53 billion - compared with a loss last year of 2.29 billion.

Revenue rose 24 percent to 71.37 billion over the nine months, from 57.6 billion. EBIT came in at 5.71 billion, compared with last year's loss of 1.96 billion.

Daimler shares were up 0.4 percent in Frankfurt trading at 47.80.