Daimler Sees First Quarter EBIT Lower Than 2012 Fourth Quarter image

Daimler expects profit in the first quarter to be lower compared with the last three months of 2012, due to weaker than expected commercial truck and premium car markets.

“Operating profit will very clearly be below the level of the fourth quarter, but that should mark the low point for the year,” finance chief Bodo Uebber told reporters in an interview at the group’s headquarters on Thursday.

He added that Daimler expects stronger sales during the second half as its flagship Mercedes-Benz premium car business already begins to see a margins recovery after the drop at the beginning of the year. Uebber also said that demand was low in Europe, but also truck markets in China and the US were also weak, which Daimler didn’t expect. Mercedes’ sales in China in January and February dropped 20%.

“It will take longer before Mercedes can return to robust sales growth in China,” said Uebber.

Daimler sold in December a 7.5% stake in EADS and thanks to this one-off gain of 709 million euro ($906.17 million) Daimler was able to increase earnings before interest and taxes by 7% year-on-year to 2.32 billion euro in the fourth quarter.