DaimlerChrysler Posts Loss on Big Charge

Without the item, earnings still fell from a year ago on lower revenue.
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A big charge to write down its investment in a European aerospace venture caused



to post a $1.9 billion loss in its third quarter. Earnings also fell sharply from a year ago excluding the item.

The automaker lost $1.9 billion, or $1.90 a share, on revenue of $40.29 billion in the third quarter, including a roughly $2.3 billion charge against its ownership stake in the European Aerospace Defense Agency, the majority owner of


. Excluding the charge, the company earned $354 million, or 36 cents a share. In the year-ago quarter DaimlerChrysler earned $909 million, or 90 cents a share, on revenue of $42.33 billion.

The company said it sold 1.1 million vehicles worldwide in the third quarter, roughly the same as in the year-ago period. Revenue fell because of euro conversions; excluding currency translation overall revenue would've risen 3% from a year ago.

The company's Chrysler segment posted operating earnings of $171 million, down from $355 million. The company said cost-controls and lower-than-anticipated increases in customer incentives helped the unit post the profit, which compares favorably to North American results at


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. Chrysler sold 630,400 vehicles worldwide in the third quarter, down from 681,600 a year ago.

DaimlerChrysler's services segment, which includes its finance arm, saw third-quarter revenue fall 11% to $4 billion.

For all of 2003, the company expects total revenue of $161 billion, down from $174.3 billion in 2002 thanks to lower unit sales and negative currency translations. Overall operating profit is expected to be about $5.8 billion.