Daimler Posts $1.3 Billion European Loss

The German automaker misses analyst estimates in the first quarter and warns of 2009 weakness.
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Plummeting demand for cars and trucks led Daimler AG (DAI) to a wider-than-expected loss in the first-quarter. The German automaker also said it expects unit sales and revenue to decline "significantly" for the rest of 2009.

In a pre-market press release, Daimler said its earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, came in at a loss of 1.43 billion euros -- analysts were expecting a 1.08 billion loss -- on revenue of 18.7 billion. In the year-earlier period, the company registered a profit of 1.98 billion on revenue of 24 billion.

The company posted a net loss of 1.29 billion euros, or 1.4 euro per share, compared with net profit a year ago of 1.32 billion.

Unit sales of cars and commercial vehicles plunged 34% to 332,300 from a year ago, and the declines showed no signs of slowing. The company said revenue for the full-year 2009 will likely fall well below 2008's 95.9 billion euro.

To combat weakening revenue, the company hopes to save 4 billion euro in 2009 with a range of cost-saving measures.

Shares of Daimler were trading down 5% on Tuesday morning, at 33.27.

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