Daimler Benz heads back into profit

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The Independent Online
The dark days seem to be over for Daimler Benz, Germany's biggest industrial group. After reporting a disastrous DM5.7bn (pounds 2.5bn) loss in 1995, the maker of luxury Mercedes cars is heading for net profits of about DM2bn this year, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. "We will report a profit for the first half of 1996," said Daimler spokesman Roland Klein.

According to Der Spiegel,Daimler made a first-half net profit of DM700m and expects to make more than DM1bn for the second half. The group reports interim results on 29 August.

Since taking over as chief executive last year, Juergen Schrempp has instigated a radical restructuring programme. "We shed the two biggest loss-making units - Fokker (the Dutch aircraft maker) and AEG (electrical goods) - and cut the number of our divisions down to 25," said Mr Klein.

While the group's troubled Daimler Benz Aerospace operations will report a loss of DM500m this year, the Mercedes-Benz car division is performing well. Mercedes expects to produce record output of more than 650,000 cars in 1996. But commercial vehicle sales in Europe are sluggish. The trucks division is expected to show losses of about DM600m.