Daimler Annual Press Conference 2013: Best figures for unit sales and revenue in 2012; Group EBIT of €8.6 billion last year
Daimler achieved EBIT of €8.6 billion in 2012 (2011: €8.8 billion). EBIT from the ongoing business amounted to €8.1 billion (2011: €9.0 billion).
“The past financial year was overall a strong year for Daimler with some great achievements, but also with clear potential for improvement. We achieved new records for unit sales and revenue at both the Group and Mercedes-Benz Cars, and launched new products in all divisions to the market, which received excellent response,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“Notwithstanding our success and the numerous pioneering investments in 2012, it is a fact that we did not reach our own targets for earnings and profitability,” Zetsche pointed out. “To ensure that our future growth is even more profitable, we have implemented detailed measures in all divisions that will further increase our efficiency.”
The Group’s net profit amounted to €6.5 billion (2011: €6.0 billion), including the gain on the sale of 7.5% of the shares of EADS. Earnings per share amounted to €5.71 (2011: €5.32).
Daimler wants its shareholders to participate appropriately in the company’s success once again in 2012. In view of the earnings achieved and the business development in 2012, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose the distribution of a dividend of €2.20 per share at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting to be held on April 10, 2013 (prior year: €2.20). This represents a total dividend payout of €2,349 million (prior year: €2,346 million).
“With this dividend continuity, we are emphasizing the attractiveness of our shares and expressing our gratitude to the shareholders for their trust in our company,” stated Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Finance, Controlling and Daimler Financial Services.
Financial year 2012
Despite partially difficult market conditions, the development of earnings reflects ongoing growth in unit sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks. Daimler Buses and Mercedes-Benz Vans posted lower unit sales, however. A shift in the regional structure of unit sales, a less favorable model mix and higher expenses in connection with the expansion of Mercedes-Benz Cars’ product portfolio and the current product offensive at Daimler Trucks also had a negative impact on Group EBIT. In addition, Mercedes-Benz Vans incurred expenses in connection with the impairment of the Chinese joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Corporation. Daimler Financial Services posted earnings at the prior-year level. The development of exchange rates had an overall positive impact on Group EBIT.
EBIT also includes significantly higher expenses in connection with the compounding of non-current provisions (2012: €543 million; 2011: €225 million).
The repositioning of the European and North American business systems of Daimler Buses, which was decided upon in the first quarter of 2012, resulted in expenses of €155 million. The sale of 7.5% of the shares in EADS resulted in a gain of €709 million in the reporting period.
As previously announced, Daimler further increased its unit sales. Sales of 2.2 million vehicles were 4% higher than in 2011. Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks were responsible for the growth, while the Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses divisions did not match their unit sales of the prior year. The Group’s total revenue improved by 7% to €114.3 billion; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, there was an increase of 4%.
The net liquidity of the industrial business amounted to €11.5 billion at December 31, 2012 (2011: €12.0 billion).
The free cash flow of the industrial business amounted to €1.5 billion in 2012. The positive profit contributions of the industrial business were offset by the increase in working capital, defined as the net change in inventories, trade receivables and trade payables, in a total amount of €0.8 billion. High investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets as well as capital contributions to Engine Holding and the joint venture of Daimler Trucks in China led to cash outflows. There was an additional effect from first-time pension contributions at EvoBus. Other positive effects resulted from the sale of shares in EADS and MBtech Group.
As of December 31, 2012, the Daimler Group employed a total workforce of 275,087 people. Due to the significant increase in business volumes, the workforce grew by 3,717 persons. While the number of employees in Germany decreased slightly to 166,363 (2011: 167,684), there was growth in the United States to 21,720 (2011: 20,702). At year-end, 14,610 people were employed in Brazil (2011: 14,533) and 11,286 in Japan (2011: 11,479). The number of persons employed by the consolidated subsidiaries in China increased to 2,730 (2011: 2,121). In addition, there were 16,383 (2011: n. a.) persons employed by Daimler’s non-consolidated associated companies in China, of which 9,048 (2011: 7,204) work at Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation (BBAC), 1,543 (2011: 2,003) at Fujian Benz Automotive Corporation (FBAC) and 5,530 (2011: n. a.) at the joint venture Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive (BFDA).
Investments in the future
Based on Daimler’s “Road to Emission-free Mobility” strategy, the main focus of work was in the area of new, extremely fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly drive technologies in all automotive divisions. Work was carried out on optimizing conventional drive technologies as well as on achieving further efficiency improvements through hybridization and with electric vehicles using fuel cells or batteries. In order to further enhance the efficiency of its vehicles, Daimler is also improving other key automotive aspects - from energy management to aerodynamics and lightweight construction. Another focus of activities is on new safety technologies and accident-free driving.
As in the prior year, Daimler therefore invested the very large amount of €5.6 billion in research and development in 2012 (2011: €5.6 billion). Total research and development expenditures at Mercedes-Benz Cars of €3.9 billion once again exceeded the high level of the prior year (2011: €3.7 billion). Daimler Trucks invested €1.2 billion in research and development projects (2011: €1.3 billion).
In 2012, Daimler once again significantly increased its investment in property, plant and equipment to €4.8 billion (2011: €4.2 billion). Of that total, €3.3 billion was invested in Germany (2011: €2.7 billion).
The focus was on extensive capital expenditure on local production facilities, new products and new technologies. One main area within Mercedes-Benz Cars was the expansion of production capacities for the new compact-class models at the Rastatt plant in Germany and at the new plant in Kecskemét, Hungary. In Sindelfingen, Daimler invested in preparations for production of the new S-Class. In Tuscaloosa, USA, and Bremen, Germany, preparations are already under way for production of the new C-Class as of 2014. At Daimler Trucks, the main areas of investment were the new Mercedes-Benz Antos, the new heavy-duty construction-site truck Arocs, and various projects for global harmonization and standardization of engines and main components and for the fulfillment of stricter emission regulations. Daimler also invested in expanding its production capacities in Brazil and at the new plant in India, where trucks of the new BharatBenz brand have been rolling off the production line since mid-2012. At the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, the focus of investment was on the new Citan small van and the successor generation of the Vito goods van and the Viano passenger van. Daimler also invested in the production and marketing of the Sprinter in Argentina and in the expansion and modernization of the sales organization. The main investments at Daimler Buses in 2012 were in new products and the modernization of production facilities.
Details of the divisions
Mercedes-Benz Cars, comprising the brands Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart, sold 1,451,600 vehicles in the year under review (2011: 1,381,400), and thus continued to grow. Revenue increased by 7% to a new record of €61.7 billion, although major markets weakened in the second half of 2012.
The division’s EBIT of €4,389 million was below the prior-year figure of €5,192 million. The return on sales was 7.1% (2011: 9.0%).
In an economic environment that became increasingly difficult during the year, unit sales developed well. Mercedes-Benz Cars achieved high growth rates in particular in the segments of compact cars and SUVs. In regional terms, the business in the United States developed very positively. Growth in earnings was also realized by positive exchange-rate effects. There were negative effects on earnings from a shift in the regional structure of unit sales and the changed model mix. Furthermore, EBIT was reduced by expenses for the enhancement of the products’ attractiveness, capacity expansion and advance expenditure for new technologies and vehicles. This negative effect on earnings was only partially offset by ongoing efficiency improvements. In addition, higher expenses arose in connection with the compounding of non-current provisions.
In a difficult market environment, Daimler Trucks was able to further increase its unit sales and revenue, with particularly strong growth in the NAFTA region and Asia. Daimler Trucks sold 462,000 vehicles during in 2012, which is 9% more than in the prior year. Revenue amounted to €31.4 billion (+9%).
The division’s EBIT of €1,714 million was below the prior-year figure (2011: €1,876 million). The return on sales was 5.5% (2011: 6.5%).
Earnings were boosted on the one hand by the positive development of unit sales and revenue in the NAFTA region and Asia. Lower warranty expenses and exchange-rate effects also made a positive contribution. On the other hand, earnings were reduced by the current product offensive and by lower demand in Brazil and Western Europe. The decline in demand was related to weaker economic developments and in Brazil additionally to the introduction of new emission limits as of the beginning of 2012. Furthermore, expenses arose from the compounding of non-current provisions. Earnings for the year include expenses of €70 million due to the natural disaster in Japan and an impairment charge on the investment in Kamaz (€32 million).
Worldwide unit sales by Mercedes-Benz Vans decreased to 252,400 vehicles, due in particular to the difficult market situation in Western Europe (2011: 264,200). Revenue of €9.1 billion was also slightly below the prior-year level (2011: €9.2 billion).
The division achieved EBIT of €541 million in 2012 (2011: €835 million). Its return on sales was 6.0%, compared with 9.1% in the prior year.
The decrease in earnings was partially related to lower levels of unit sales, especially caused by the significantly weaker market in Western Europe. Good product quality was reflected by lower warranty costs. Exchange-rate effects also had a positive impact on earnings. There was an opposing effect from expenses of €64 million in connection with the impairment of the Chinese joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Corporation. Earnings were additionally reduced by expenses connected with the market launch of the Citan city van and the launch of the new Sprinter in Argentina.
Daimler Buses sold 32,100 buses and bus chassis worldwide in 2012 (2011: 39,700). Revenue decreased accordingly by €0.5 billion to €3.9 billion.
Daimler Buses posted EBIT of -€232 million (2011: €162 million) and a return on sales of -5.9% (2011: 3.7%).
The decrease in earnings was primarily the result of lower sales of bus chassis due to the difficult business situation in Latin America, as well as an unfavorable model mix in the declining European market. There were additional negative effects on earnings from expenses of €155 million for the repositioning of the European and North American business systems and from exchange-rate changes.
Daimler Financial Services’ business developed positively once again in 2012. New business increased by 14% to the new record of €38.1 billion. The division’s contract volume rose by 12% to €80.0 billion. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, the increase was 13%.
Daimler Financial Services achieved EBIT of €1,292 million in 2012, which is close to its earnings of the prior year (€1,312 million). The division’s return on equity was 21.9% (2011: 25.5%).
A larger contract volume and exchange-rate effects contributed positively to the earnings development. There were opposing effects on earnings from lower interest margins and a normalization of risk costs, which had been unusually low in the prior year. Additional expenses arose in connection with the portfolio expansion.
The reconciliation of the divisions’ EBIT to Group EBIT comprises the proportionate share of the results of Daimler’s equity-method investment in EADS, other gains and/or losses at the corporate level, and the effects on earnings of eliminating intra-group transactions between the divisions.
Daimler’s proportionate share of the net profit of EADS amounted to €307 million (2011: €143 million). In addition, the Group realized a gain of €709 million on the sale of 7.5% of the shares of EADS during the reporting period. At the corporate level, an expense of €113 million was recognized (2011: expense of €588 million). Corporate items in the prior year included in particular litigation expenses and a charge on the impairment of Daimler’s investment in Renault (€110 million).
According to current estimates, worldwide demand for automobiles is likely to grow this year by approximately 2 to 4%. This growth should be primarily driven by the ongoing expansion of the Chinese market and a moderate increase in demand in the United States. No impetus is to be expected from the Western European market, however. Demand in Japan will probably decrease significantly, with a perceptible negative impact on the growth of the world market.
Worldwide demand for medium and heavy trucks can be expected to increase perceptibly in 2013. However, this will mainly be driven by the significant recovery in China, which was responsible for a large proportion of the global drop in demand last year. In North America, a decline of 5 to 10% is anticipated as a result of uncertainty about the country’s fiscal problems. For the European truck market, demand is expected to fall by up to 5% due to the ongoing weak economic environment. The Japanese market should be at about the prior-year level, following the expiry of certain special effects in connection with the reconstruction there. A significant recovery of up to 10% is expected for the Brazilian market thanks to better economic prospects and the continuation of favorable financing conditions.
Mercedes-Benz Cars is consistently implementing its “Mercedes-Benz 2020” offensive. Numerous model changes and new products should ensure that the division achieves new records for unit sales in the years 2013 and 2014. A major contribution to this growth is likely to come from the new models in the high-volume compact-car segment. The third model based on the new compact-car architecture will be launched in April 2013: the CLA four-door coupe. Also starting in April, the new E-Class sedan and wagon will be available from Mercedes-Benz dealerships after a thorough upgrade. And as of mid-May 2013, the new E-Class coupes and convertibles will create additional sales impetus. In June 2013, the locally emission-free super sports car SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive will be launched on the market. In the second half of 2013, Mercedes-Benz expects significant growth in the luxury segment, above all due to the launch of the all-new S-Class. As the most important new model of the year 2013, the new S-Class will set new standards with pioneering innovations for comfortable and safe driving, summarized under the heading of “Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.” In addition, the Mercedes-Benz brand will also continue to profit in 2013 from the great market success of its models in the compact-car and SUV segments.
Within the framework of the long-term “Mercedes-Benz 2020” growth strategy, the product portfolio will be further expanded across all segments in the coming years. In the compact-car segment, a total of five new models will be added to the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio. In parallel, the model offensive will also be continued at the upper end of the automobile spectrum, for example with new models of the coming S-Class and with another SUV model version.
The smart brand expects good chances that the unique two-seater in the highly competitive micro-car segment will defy its advanced model lifecycle also in 2013, and will achieve unit sales in the magnitude of the prior year. The successor model of the two-seater, the new smart four-seater and the electric smart scooter will be presented in 2014.
Daimler Trucks anticipates a slight increase in unit sales in the year 2013 and further growth in 2014, although the development in 2013 will at first be rather moderate or even negative in some key markets due to the ongoing difficult economic situation. The introduction of stricter emission limits in 2014 is expected to cause some purchases to be brought forward to 2013. As a result of its extensive product offensive, Daimler Trucks not only has a complete model range of Euro VI trucks, but is also in a very good starting position in all relevant regions: A highly attractive, innovative product portfolio should allow Daimler to further strengthen its market position worldwide and to increase its share of important markets.
Unit sales should benefit from the complete availability of the Actros and Antos models and from other new models such as the Arocs for the construction sector and the new Atego. The strong North American products like the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution in combination with the strong Detroit components should also make an important contribution to further growth. With a clear focus on profitable customer segments such as the construction and municipal segments within the framework of its “Vocational Strategy,” the truck division wants to utilize further market potential and extend its market leadership in North America.
The brands Fuso and BharatBenz will also make an important contribution to growth in unit sales in the coming years. The Fuso Canter and its hybrid version, which has been produced also in Europe since 2012, should stimulate additional demand. Fuso will extend its leading position in the field of “green innovation” with the new Canter Eco Hybrid and other technologies. Furthermore, Fuso is developing profitable export markets in the context of its growth offensive. In India, the range of BharatBenz trucks will be expanded to a total of 17 models in the weight classes from 6 to 49 metric tons by the year 2014, and the sales and service network will also be expanded. In Russia and China, Daimler Trucks is gradually intensifying its cooperation with local partners Kamaz and Foton, and is thus creating the right conditions for the further development of those growth markets.
Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to increase its unit sales in the years 2013 and 2014. On the product side, the new Mercedes-Benz Citan should contribute to this growth. Entering the market segment of small vans makes the division a full-range supplier and thus gives it additional growth potential in Europe. As of mid 2013, there will be demand stimulus from the upgraded Sprinter. As part of the “Vans goes global” strategy, Mercedes-Benz Vans is increasingly developing the markets outside Europe. It is therefore intensifying its sales activities especially in North America, Latin America, Russia and China. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz vans are increasingly produced also locally: in Argentina and China, and production will begin also in Russia with the partner GAZ in the first half of 2013.
Daimler Buses assumes that it will be able to maintain its globally leading position in its core markets for buses above 8 tons with innovative and high-quality new products. Not least due to various major orders in advance of the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, a rise in unit sales is anticipated in Brazil for the years 2013 and 2014. In Western Europe the division has launched excellent high-quality products in this stable key market: the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the new coach generation, the Setra 500. In order to realize further growth potential and to enhance competitiveness, Daimler Buses started the “GLOBE 2013” growth and efficiency offensive in 2012.
With its “DFS 2020” strategy, Daimler Financial Services aims to achieve further profitable growth in the coming years. Key growth drivers are the expansion of business in Asia, the product offensives of the Daimler Group, and the further development of innovative mobility service packages. Worldwide, Daimler wants to gain larger numbers of young customers, who will be increasingly attracted with new models in the compact class and who are particularly open-minded with regard to financing and leasing offers. Daimler Financial Services sees additional growth opportunities in the field of innovative mobility services, where the service offering will be systematically expanded in the coming years – with and beyond car2go.
On the basis of assumptions concerning the development of automotive markets and the divisions’ planning, the Daimler Group expects to achieve further growth in total unit sales in the years 2013 and 2014.
Daimler assumes that Group revenue will continue growing in the years 2013 and 2014. Although uncertainty regarding the future development of the Group’s markets tended to increase during the year 2012, numerous new products will be launched in the context of the growth strategy in the coming years. Furthermore, the Group will increasingly develop the growth markets of Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America for its products – partially also through local production. The anticipated growth will probably be driven by all divisions, with the biggest contributions in absolute terms coming from Daimler Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Cars. In regional terms, Daimler assumes that growth rates will be above average in the emerging markets and in North America.
Daimler assumes that the development of major markets will at first remain weak in the first half of 2013, and therefore anticipates a weaker development of earnings in the first half of the year compared with 2012. But due to the planned new models, the assumptions made for the development of markets important to Daimler and the increasing effects of the efficiency measures that have been initiated, earnings are expected to improve in the second half of 2013 compared with the level of the first half. On the basis of the anticipated recovery in the second half of the year, Daimler currently assumes that Group EBIT from the ongoing business in 2013 will reach the magnitude of the prior year. For Mercedes-Benz Cars, full-year EBIT is expected to be slightly lower than in 2012, while the other automotive divisions should post higher earnings than in the prior year. In 2014 and the following years, an improvement in operating profit is expected for all automotive divisions and for the Group. For Daimler Financial Services, a stable development of earnings is anticipated in the next two years.
In the medium term, Daimler aims to achieve an annual average return on sales in its automotive business of 9% across market and product cycles. This is based on target returns on sales for the individual divisions: 10% for Mercedes-Benz Cars, 8% for Daimler Trucks, 9% for Mercedes-Benz Vans and 6% for Daimler Buses. For the Daimler Financial Services division, the target for return on equity is 17%. Due to significantly worsened market conditions, the achievement of these profitability targets has become much more challenging for the Group and the individual divisions. Daimler therefore assumes that the targets will not be achieved as originally planned in the year 2013, but at a later date. In order to make sure it meets its profitability targets in the long term, Daimler is carrying out far-reaching programs to improve its efficiency and competitiveness in all divisions.
In the years 2013 and 2014, Daimler plans to spend a total of €10.8 billion on research and development activities and approximately €10.2 billion on property, plant and equipment. This means that research and development investment will remain at the high level of the years 2011 and 2012; capital expenditure on property, plant and equipment will once again exceed the already very high levels of the two previous years.
Due to the anticipated business development, production volumes will continue to grow in the years 2012 and 2013. At the same time, efficiency and thus also productivity will be significantly increased as a result of the programs being carried out in all divisions. Against this backdrop, Daimler assumes that it will be able to achieve its ambitious growth targets with a largely stable workforce. New jobs will tend to be created in the international growth markets.
The special items affecting earnings in the years 2012 and 2011 are listed in the following table:
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