Daimler said in a preliminary full year 2020 results announcement its industrial free cash flow, group EBIT, Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans return on sales adjusted and Daimler Mobility return on equity adjusted were “all significantly guidance or significantly above market expectations for the financial year 2020”.

Free cash flow in the fourth quarter reflected the “continued extensive cost and cash preservation measures and strong operative performances across all divisions leading to favorable cash-conversion ratios”, it added.

Daimler said it completed 2020 “in a challenging environment with a very strong fourth quarter, in particular with regard to [cash flow]. All divisions contributed to this success. Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans exceeded key financial metrics of [full year 2019].

“Our strategic initiatives and our intense operational efforts are combining to deliver a significant improvement in financial performance across the company,” said chairman Ola Kaellenius in a statement.

“We have continued to keep a tight grip on cost and cash while on the commercial side we have seen strong demand for our products across all major markets and divisions.”

At Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans, we were able to combine a rapid acceleration in xEV sales with a strong financial result in Q4. At Daimler Trucks, the recovery of the US market has accelerated and we are beginning to see a positive impact from new efficiency measures in our European operations. We intend to continue to make further progress on cost-efficiencies in 2021 and will accelerate the implementation of our strategic initiatives.”

Preliminary and unaudited data:

Industrial Free Cash Flow: EUR8,259m (consensus: EUR5,296m);
Industrial Free Cash Flow adjusted: EUR9,155m (consensus: n/a)

Net Industrial Liquidity: EUR17.9bn (end of Q3 2020: EUR13.1bn)

Daimler Group EBIT: EUR6,603m (consensus: EUR5,245m);
EBIT adjusted: EUR8,641m (consensus: EUR7,120m)

Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans EBIT: EUR5,172m (consensus: EUR3,850m);
EBIT adjusted: EUR6,802m (consensus: EUR5,390m);
Return on Sales (RoS) adjusted: 6.9% (consensus: 5.5%)

Daimler Trucks & Buses EBIT: EUR525m (consensus: EUR556m);
adjusted EBIT: EUR678m (consensus: EUR689m);
Return on Sales (RoS) adjusted: 2.0% (consensus: 2.0%)

Daimler Mobility EBIT: EUR1,436m (consensus: EUR1,318m);
adjusted EBIT: EUR1,595m (consensus: EUR1,449m);
Return on Equity (RoE) adjusted: 10.9% (consensus: n/a)

The preliminary results include adjustments affecting Daimler Group EBIT and Industrial Free Cash Flow:

Legal proceedings [related to false emissions readings for diesel vehicles] affecting EBIT: EUR164m
affecting Industrial Free Cash Flow: EUR595m

affecting EBIT: EUR1,874m
affecting Industrial Free Cash Flow: EUR301m

“Given the development of successful cost discipline continued in the fourth quarter and expected good underlying demand, Daimler also anticipates a positive business development in 2021,” the automaker added.

“The current semiconductor shortages and COVID-19 disruptions will probably impact the first quarter 2021.”

“These statements are made under the assumption of no further COVID-19 lockdowns.”

Daimler will release full results on 18 February with guidance for 2021.