Daimler Truck exceeds expectations in Q4, shares soar!

(Recast first paragraph, adds analyst comments to paragraphs 8 and 9, stock price to paragraph 3)

BERLIN, March 1 (Reuters) – Daimler Truck increased its dividend and announced a share buyback program after reporting better-than-expected annual profit and forecasts, sending its shares to an all-time high.

The truck maker said it wanted to buy back 2 billion euros of shares over the next 24 months and proposed a dividend of 1.9 euros per share for 2023, compared to 1.3 euros a year earlier.

On the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Daimler Truck shares climbed more than 13%, to 42.86 euros, around 09:25 GMT.

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Daimler Truck joins a number of automakers that in recent weeks have increased dividends and carried out stock buybacks to return cash to investors.

The German group’s profit before income tax (Ebit) increased by 38% to reach 5.5 billion euros in 2023, compared to 4 billion euros a year earlier. Analysts expected Ebit of 5.2 billion euros.

For 2024, Daimler Truck said it expects stable or slightly higher sales and unchanged profit before income tax (EBIT) in a still difficult economic environment.

“Due to continued difficult economic conditions…Daimler Truck expects major truck markets to return to normal levels in 2024,” the company said in a statement.

JPMorgan called this outlook very strong.

Analysts expected EBIT of 4.7 billion euros this year.

The group delivered 526,053 trucks and buses in 2023, an increase of 1% compared to 2022, and achieved its highest adjusted margin ever recorded, 9.9%, compared to 7.7% the previous year.

This result, he says, brings him closer to his target of double-digit margins for 2025.

Daimler Truck also expects an adjusted return on sales (ROS) for its key industrial business of between 9.0% and 10.5% in 2024.

Its profit before income tax (Ebit) increased in 2023 to reach 5.5 billion euros, compared to 4 billion euros a year earlier. Analysts expected Ebit of 5.2 billion euros. (Reporting Ilona Wissenbach, writing by Miranda Murray; French version Dagmarah Mackos, editing by Kate Entringer)

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