In the year 2017, due to the very attractive and competitive product range in all divisions, Daimler expects to profit from slight growth in global demand for motor vehicles and from its strengthened market position, and to further increase its unit sales in total. Accordingly, further growth in revenue and EBIT is also anticipated.
“In 2016, Daimler has set new records for unit sales, revenue and earnings. But what is just as important is that in the best year in our company’s history so far, we also initiated the biggest-ever transformation at Daimler,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the Annual Press Conference in Stuttgart. “We have set our course in the direction of electric mobility and are establishing a new culture of cooperation together with our workforce. Those who wish to shape the future of the automobile at the forefront of the automotive industry need both financial strength and innovative skill. In 2016, we demonstrated that the combination of these two factors at Daimler is stronger now than ever before.”
The Daimler Group posted EBIT of €12.9 billion in 2016 (2015: €13.2 billion). Due to favorable business developments in most of its divisions, Daimler slightly improved on its EBIT adjusted for special items – from €13.8 billion in 2015 to €14.2 billion in the year 2016 – thus setting a new record. Net profit increased to the best-ever figure of €8.8 billion (2015: €8.7 billion) and earnings per share rose to €7.97 (2015: €7.87).
Daimler increased its total unit sales in the year 2016 by 5 % to around 3 million vehicles, thus achieving its growth target. The Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans divisions confirmed the forecasts made at the beginning of the year with significant growth (+10% and +12% respectively). Daimler Trucks posted a significant decrease in unit sales of 17%, due in particular to the weaker market development in the NAFTA region, the Middle East and Turkey. Unit sales at Daimler Buses were significantly lower than in the previous year (-7%) and did not reach the originally expected magnitude. This was primarily the result of the significant market contraction in Brazil. Daimler achieved slight revenue growth of 3% to €153.3 billion in 2016 (2015: €149.5 billion); adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue also grew by 3%.
“We once again posted record numbers at Daimler in 2016. With our very attractive products and the measures taken to enhance efficiency, we have made considerable progress and stabilized our business despite volatile market developments,” said Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Finance & Controlling and Daimler Financial Services. “In the automotive business, we met our targets for return on sales once again last year. And we are confident that we will be able to improve on these record results once again in 2017.”
At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on March 29, 2017, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose the distribution of a dividend of €3.25 per share (2015: €3.25). “We continue to invest in our future and offer our shareholders an attractive dividend as usual. This is also an expression of our confidence,” continued Uebber. The dividend payout will amount to €3,477 million, as in the previous year, and the distribution ratio will be 40.8% (previous year: 41.3%) of the net profit attributable to the Daimler shareholders.
Compared with December 31, 2015, the net liquidity of the industrial business increased from €18.6 billion to €19.7 billion, and was thus at an appropriate level. The increase was mainly due to the positive free cash flow of €3.9 billion. An additional factor was the cash inflow in connection with equity transactions at Daimler Financial Services (€0.7 billion). There was an opposing effect from the dividend payout of €3.5 billion to the shareholders of Daimler AG.
The Group’s financial strength is also reflected by the upgrade of its credit ratings by Standard & Poor’s. The rating agency raised its long-term rating for Daimler from A- to A and its short-term rating from A-2 to A-1.