Daimler continues along its successful path – best-ever unit sales and revenue in a third quarter
Unit sales significantly above prior-year level at 824,100 vehicles (+9%)
Revenue up by 6% to €40.8 billion
Group EBIT of €3.5 billion (Q3 2016: €4.0 billion)
Net profit of €2.3 billion (Q3 2016: €2.7 billion)
Free cash flow of industrial business of €5.8 billion in first nine months(Q3 2016: €2.6 billion)
Significant growth in unit sales and revenue anticipated for full-year 2017
Group EBIT expected to be significantly higher than in 2016
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “Daimler is operating successfully and leads the premium segment with Mercedes-Benz. Now is therefore the right time to examine – from a position of strength – whether we can position ourselves even better to shape the automotive era definitively and successfully fromthe top.”
Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Finance & Controlling and Daimler Financial Services: “To remain competitive over the long term combined with sustainable profitability, it is essential to be agile and flexible and to continuously develop further. For us, safeguarding Daimler’s future is based on three elements: protecting and increasing the Group’s success, pushing forward with shaping the future for the employees, and ensuring the long-term commitment of investors.”
Daimler AG (ticker symbol DAI) continued along its successful path in the first nine months of 2017 and achieved best-ever figures for unit sales, revenue and EBIT in this period. From July through September, the Daimler Group once again increased its unit sales and revenue. Daimler sold 824,100 cars and commercial vehicles in the third quarter (+9%), setting a new record for total unit sales. All automotive divisions contributed to the best-ever quarterly unit sales, especially Mercedes-Benz Cars, which has now posted its 55th consecutive record month (Q3 2017: 597,300 units, +6%), and the significant increase in unit sales by Daimler Trucks (126,600 units, +30%). Group revenue amounted to €40.8 billion in the third quarter, und which is 6% above the prior-year level. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue rose by 8%.
The Daimler Group’s third-quarter EBIT of €3,458 million in 2017 was significantly below the prior-year figure of €4,037 million. Net profit amounted to €2,268 million (Q3 2016:€2,726 million). Net profit attributable to the shareholders of Daimler AG amounts to€2,177 million (Q3 2016: €2,595 million), representing earnings per share of €2.03(Q3 2016: €2.43).
The EBIT of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division was significantly below the prior-year figure, due in particular to expenses in connection with warranty measures and expenses for voluntary service activities. The Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses divisions also posted significantly lower EBIT than in the third quarter of last year. On the other hand, Daimler Trucks significantly surpassed its earnings of the prior-year period, due in particular to growing unit sales in the NAFTA region and Asia. Daimler Financial Services also achieved a significant increase in third-quarter EBIT. The reconciliation of segment earnings to Group EBIT resulted in a considerably lower contribution to earnings than in the prior-year quarter.
“Daimler is operating successfully and leads the premium segment with Mercedes-Benz. Now is therefore the right time to examine – from a position of strength – whether we can position ourselves even better to shape the automotive era definitively and successfully from the top: with cars, vans, trucks, buses, financial services and mobility services. Because we intend to be at the top over the long term,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “This project aims to strengthen the future viability of the business units in order to better utilize the potential for growth and earnings in the various markets.”
Daimler intends – subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board – to focus and strengthen the Group’s business structure through the creation of legally independent entities. In addition to the existing legally independent Daimler Financial Services division, the divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans as well as Daimler Trucks & Buses may be transferred into two legally independent entities to give them greater entrepreneurial responsibility. Close consultation is taking place with the employee representatives; an agreement has been reached on the cornerstones of a balance of interests to secure Daimler’s employees’ future. Major elements are the extension of the agreement on safeguarding employment until the end of 2029 (»Zukunftssicherung 2030«) and increasing the funded status of pension obligations.
“To remain competitive over the long term combined with sustainable profitability, it is essential to be agile and flexible and to continuously develop further,” said Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Finance & Controlling and Daimler Financial Services. “For us, safeguarding Daimler’s future is based on three elements: protecting and increasing the Group’s success, pushing forward with shaping the future for the employees, and ensuring the long-term commitment of investors. With these three factors, we will achieve – from a position of strength - the best-possible structure for the future, enabling us to continue along our successful path. In this way, we will create value for our employees, customers and investors.”
Free cash flow und liquidity
In the first nine months of 2017, the free cash flow of the industrial business amounted to €5.8 billion (Q1-3 2016: €2.6 billion). This increase resulted from the positive business performance and the positive development of working capital. Another factor affecting comparison with the prior-year period is the cash outflow in 2016 in payment of the fine of €1.0 billion imposed on Daimler by the European Commission in the context of the settlement in the truck antitrust proceedings. A cash inflow of €0.8 billion resulted from the dividend distributed by Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. In addition, the sale of real estate by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation at the Kawasaki site in Japan led to a cash inflow of €0.3 billion. Opposing effects resulted from increased investments in intangible assets and property, plant and equipment and from the acquisition of an interest in LSH Auto International Limited (LSHAI).
Compared with December 31, 2016, the net liquidity of the industrial business increased from €19.7 billion to €20.8 billion. The increase was mainly due to the positive free cash flow. Opposing effects resulted from the dividend payment to shareholders of Daimler AG and negative exchange-rate effects.
The Daimler Group once again utilized attractive conditions in the international money and capital markets for refinancing in the first three quarters of 2017. In the first nine months of 2017, Daimler had a cash inflow of €16.6 billion from the issuance of bonds (Q1-3 2016: €16.4 billion). The redemption of bonds resulted in cash outflows of €10.6 billion (Q1-3 2016: €8.1 billion). A large proportion of the issuance volume was carried out in the form ofso-called benchmark bonds (bonds with high nominal values). In addition, multiple smaller issuances were undertaken in various countries. In August, Daimler placed a so-called panda-bond with a volume of RMB5.0 billion in the capital market of the People’s Republic of China. In the third quarter, asset-backed securities (ABS) transactions were also conducted in China, the United States and Australia. In China, transactions of RMB5.0 billion were successfully placed in the market. In Australia, a first-time ABS transaction was placed in July(AUD0.8 billion). In addition, a refinancing volume of US$2.1 billion was generated with an ABS transaction in the United States.
At the end of the third quarter of 2017, the Daimler Group had 292,121 employees worldwide (end of 2016: 282,488; Q3 2016: 284,482). Of that total, 175,166 were employed in Germany (end of 2016: 170,034) and 23,513 in the United States (end of 2016: 21,857). The consolidated companies in China had 3,986 employees at the end of September(end of 2016: 3,696).