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» Daimler AG Management Discusses Q1 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
Dr. Michael MühlbayerGood afternoon, this is Michael Mühlbayer speaking. On behalf of Daimler, I would like to welcome you on both the telephone and the Internet to our Q1 results conference. In order to give you maximum time for your questions, our CFO, Bodo Uebber will begin with his short introduction directly followed by Q&A, Now, I would like to hand over to Bodo Uebber. Bodo Uebber Thank you, Michael. Ladies and gentlemen, we announced first quarter numbers earlier today and they are again solid numbers. In a challenging and volatile market environment and despite high investments in the future Daimler delivered the best first quarter revenues and EBIT. Post Group sales and revenues increased by 9%, at the Group level we posted EBIT of €2.2 billion from ongoing business, that’s an increase of 3% compared to the previous year. Net profits is very satisfying at €1.4 billion, which is 20% higher than Q1 2011. Earnings per share amount to €1.25 versus €0.99 in Q1 of the previous year. Industrial free cash flow was a negative €2 billion. This is mainly caused by the seasonal development in working capital. The increase in inventory is related to the selling of the product pipeline at Mercedes-Benz Cars to prepare for the spring selling season and the market launch of new products such as the B-Class, SL or the SUVs. Also at Daimler Trucks, we recognized higher inventories at the end of Q1. This increase relates to the order of book and the resulting stronger sales in the coming months particularly in NAFTA and Asia. We also accounted for some Euro V inventories in Brazil due to the transition phase from Euro III to Euro V. In addition, we had a cash out flows from capital contributions to Engine Holding in connection with the integration of the Bergen business into Tognum and the investment in our Chinese Truck joint venture.
As we continue to invest in our future beyond 2012 in new products, new markets, and new technologies, free cash flow was also affected by higher spending in connection with CapEx and R&D. Our net liquidity remains high at €10.1 billion.Now let’s discuss the performance of our divisions in the first quarter 2012. At Mercedes-Benz Cars following up on our record sales last year, we are off to a successful start in 2012. To date, we have recorded a new sales record in every month of this year with sales of 338,000 Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars. We set a new high for first quarter sales, and March was the strongest single sales months in the company’s history. Mercedes-Benz Cars posted an EBIT of €1.3 billion with a return on sales of 8.4%. On the one hand, this quarter’s earnings were supported by higher sales and currency effects. On the other hand, we incurred a temporary less favorable net pricing in China with some selected imported vehicles. Benz also resulted from higher expenses from new technologies, new products and additional planned capacity. EBIT was also impacted by the discounting of non-current provisions with lower interest rates. In addition to our excellent start this year so far, it is especially the overwhelming customers’ funds to the new models, which makes us very confident that we achieve our goal of posting a new all-time sales record in 2012. In 2012, we will profit from the continuation of strong demand for our models in the C-Class segment. At the end of March, we launched a new version of our iconic SL. We anticipate further growth for our family of SUVs, preliminary due to the full availability of the new M-Class and as of September 2012 of the new GL. In addition, the new generations of the GLK compact SUV and of the G-Class will be launched in June 2012.
The new models in the high-volume compact-car segment will also contribute to growth in unit sales. The new B-Class was launched in November 2011 with the new A-Class to follow this September, plus we will bring a completely new automobile concept to the market in September, the CLS Shooting Brake. In the coming quarters we anticipate that business and earnings at Mercedes-Benz Cars will follow the regular seasonal pattern.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com