DaimlerChrysler (DCX) posted a rise in fourth-quarter profit and forecast flat 2006 unit sales.
The big carmaker said it made $1.14 billion, or $1.12 a share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30, up from $623 million, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $49.1 billion from $44.7 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.16-a-share profit.
The company said its Mercedes unit posted another full-year loss thanks to a business realignment and layoffs. Chrysler's operating profit rose despite tough conditions in the U.S. market.
"DaimlerChrysler made significant progress in the year 2005," said CEO Dieter Zetsche. "But our earnings are still not where we want them to be. We intend to grow profitably and to create added value over the long-term -- for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders."
DaimlerChrysler expects unit sales in 2006 to be in the range of the prior year. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue in 2006 will most likely increase slightly. In the following years, DaimlerChrysler expects revenues to increase significantly in line with rising unit sales. In regional terms, the main source of growth will be the dynamic markets of Asia.
The company said it would make a detailed earnings forecast for 2006 at some point later.