Daimler AG (DDAIF)  posted third quarter earnings that were largely in-line with forecasts but said sales at its trucks division, which it plans to separate into a stand-alone business until, will increase sharply in the final three months of the year.

The Mercedes Benz-maker said earnings for the three months ending in September came in at €3.46 billion, down 14% from the same period last year but matching analysts' forecasts. Group revenue was up 6% to  €40.8 billion, with a 10% gain in China sales leading the charge. Daimler Trucks revenue grew 17%, the company said, to €9.2 billion.

"Daimler is operating successfully and leads the premium segment with Mercedes-Benz." said CEO Dieter Zetsche. "Now is therefore the right time to examine - from a position of strength - whether we can position ourselves even better to shape the automotive era definitively and successfully from the top."

Daimler said earlier this week that it plans to formally separate its car and truck divisions into separate legal entities and will spend what it described as a "three-digit million euro" sum to kickstart the project.  The company said it has no plans to divest any of its divisions, but believes that each will be better-placed to take greater entrepreneurial responsibility if they are legally separate.

The Stuttgart-based group said it expects to "significantly increase its total unit sales" for the full year, lifting earnings for the group as well. 

"On the basis of expected market developments and the current assessments of our divisions, we assume that Group EBIT will increase significantly once again in 2017," the company said.

Daimler shares were marked 0.6% higher at €69.30 each in Frankfurt Friday and have risen around 14.2% since news of the potential structure change was reported in late August by Germany's Manager Magazin.

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