Daimler second-quarter earnings lag as cartel allegations loom
Daimler`s co-operation projects with carmakers will not be curbed by a European Commission investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour among German carmakers, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Wednesday.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday that German carmakers Daimler, BMW, VW, Porsche and Audi held meetings to discuss suppliers, prices and standards to the disadvantage of foreign carmakers.
The European Commission said on Saturday it was investigating. Companies found guilty of breaching EU cartel rules face fines of as much as 10 percent of their global turnover.
Asked whether such allegations could result in consequences for cooperation deals, such as a procurement agreement with BMW, Zetsche said: "Since we obviously operated within the law, none."
In a call with journalists to discuss second-quarter results, Zetsche also declined to comment on whether German carmakers had colluded.
"We are well advised not to participate in speculation," Zetsche said, adding that the European Commission had not opened formal proceedings against Daimler.
Daimler`s and Volkswagen`s supervisory boards will meet on Wednesday to discuss the allegations, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
"The automotive industry is currently making headlines, and not good ones," Zetsche said.
Zetsche also said on Wednesday that Daimler was reviewing its corporate structure and may separate some divisions if it helps the luxury cars, trucks, buses and vans manufacturer to chase growth opportunities.
The company does not currently envisage a complete separation of some units, Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said, when asked whether Daimler plans to sell or list its trucks division.
Separating the divisions would unlock value, with trucks and buses on their own being worth 31 billion euros, analysts at Evercore ISI said in a note.
"This was a deliberate new statement from management and we recommend taking this communication very seriously," the analysts said.
Second-quarter results showed Daimler`s star performer remained its luxury cars division which helped push up quarterly operating profit by 15 percent, slightly below consensus.
Daimler`s group earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 3.74 billion euros in the second quarter, below the average forecast for 3.81 billion euros in a Reuters poll.
Mercedes-Benz Cars sold 595,200 automobiles thanks to a 28 percent rise in demand in China. Margins improved to 10.2 percent from 6.4 percent in the year-earlier period, mainly due to sales of a new E-Class limousine.
The Stuttgart-based company also lifted the outlook for its trucks and vans divisions, saying it now expected EBIT to reach prior-year levels for both businesses.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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