Daimler Q1 net rises 20 percent, Mercedes slips

April 27, 2012, Friday/ 14:27:00/ AP

Automaker daimler AG says net profit rose 20 percent to 1.42 billion euros ($1.88 billion) in the first quarter despite a slip in earnings at its key Mercedes luxury car business.

Revenues rose 9 percent to 27.01 billion euros and the company sold 9 percent more vehicles worldwide, at 502,086. Both the sales and net profit figures beat the average analyst estimate compiled by FactSet, which foresaw profit of 1.22 billion euros.

Divisional earnings slipped 3 percent at the Mercedes-Benz Car division, the company's biggest. Daimler said Friday that spending on expanded production capability and upcoming new vehicles weighed on the results, as did what it called temporarily weaker pricing in the crucial Chinese market. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who also heads the Mercedes division, called it "a strong quarter." "Despite higher investment in future growth and a challenging market environment, we succeeded in surpassing the very good prior-year results," he said in a statement. The company reaffirmed its cautious outlook for the year, saying earnings before interest and taxes would match last year's.

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