Daimler – Record Profit and Skepticism – Economics

Despite the current corona crisis and major electronic component delivery bottlenecks, the first half of the year has gone well for Daimler. At the end of June, the group achieved a net profit of 7.9 billion euros, after a loss of 1.9 billion euros in the same period of the previous year. Compared to the collapse of corona-related business a year ago, sales increased 25% to 84.5 billion euros.

On the stock market, however, those numbers haven’t given a boost – mainly because delivery issues with microchips are a burden on the Mercedes-Benz Cars division. There, Daimler now expects sales at the previous year’s level of just under 2.1 million vehicles. The action of the automaker therefore lost 4% to 67.27 euros on Wednesday, its lowest level in nearly five months. Around noon, it was still down 0.7%.

“We expect this to remain a problem in 2022, but there will be an improvement over 2021,” CFO Harald Wilhelm said on Wednesday in view of the chip shortage. Since June, semiconductor shortages have been exacerbated by the corona lockdown in Malaysia. Some factories are inactive there. All of this should mean that at least 157,000 fewer new Mercedes cars will roll off the assembly line this year than expected.

In the first half, despite the difficulties, Daimler made a record profit of 10.9 billion euros before interest and taxes – as much as the much larger Volkswagen Group. In the last record year 2017, operating profit for the full year amounted to 14.3 billion euros. A 36% sales increase and strong demand, especially in China, for particularly profitable combustion models such as the S-Class luxury sedan or the GLS luxury SUV drove the profits. Half-year revenue increased 25% to 84.5 billion euros.

The return of Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans was in double digits for the third consecutive quarter with 12.8% on an adjusted basis – a historic result for the star brand. The automaker is now targeting ten to twelve percent for the whole year. However, the tough austerity measures introduced two years ago have also contributed to the entire budget.

The group also announced that Wilfried Porth, the longtime director of human resources, will step down from the board in December as part of the planned split of the Daimler Truck division of the group as a whole. The supervisory board has appointed Sabine Kohlenisen, who since 2019 was director of human resources and labor at the Mercedes-Benz automotive subsidiary, to succeed Porth.

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