Daimler has posted a net profit of EUR1.4bn on full-year 2008 revenue of EUR95.9bn versus EUR4.0bn a year previously on revenue of EUR99.4bn.

The dividend will be EUR0.60 a share vs EUR2.00 in 2007.

Daimler achieved EBIT of EUR2,730m in 2008 compared with EUR8,710m a year previously due mainly to expenses of EUR3,228m (2007: EUR377m) related to the remaining 19.9% investment in Chrysler and lower earnings at Mercedes-Benz Cars. Prior-year EBIT also included higher gains on the transfer of portions of Daimler’s equity interest in EADS (2008: EUR130m; 2007: EUR1,573m).

Daimler Trucks did not achieve its prior-year earnings, primarily due to the difficult economic situation in the United States and expenses incurred restructuring in the NAFTA region.

Earnings grew at Daimler Financial Services and the Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses units.

Based on the divisions’ projections, Daimler had forecast EBIT from continuing operations of more than EUR6bn. This did not include special items from the revaluation of leased vehicles’ residual values at Mercedes-Benz Cars, the sale of real estate at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the transfer of interest in EADS, the repositioning of Daimler Trucks North America, the new management model and effects related to Chrysler. Excluding those special items, Daimler achieved that goal, it said.

“For Daimler, the year 2008 consisted of a very good first half and a difficult second half,” the automaker said, reflecting results at rival automakers.

Management board chairman and Mercedes-Benz Cars chief Dieter Zetsche told the annual press conference: “During the first half of 2008, we proved how well we perform under normal economic conditions. Many of our business operations were headed for very good results.”

Daimler sold 2.1m vehicles in 2008, close to the prior-year level.

The management board will pay a profit-sharing bonus of EUR1,900 to about 118,000 eligible employees in April 2009.

“With this profit sharing, the board of management is honouring the employees’ contribution to the operating profit achieved in 2008,” Daimler said.

But the board has also decided that wage increases for 2009 agreed upon in collective bargaining for the approximately 140,000 employees covered by such agreements will only apply to that portion of wages covered by collective bargaining and not to the portion of wages additionally paid by Daimler outside the agreement. This was covered by an agreement signed in 2004.

Research and development spending increased to EUR4.4bn last year vs EUR4.1bn in 2007.

Mercedes-Benz Cars, including Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart and AMG sold 1,273,000 vehicles in 2008 vs 1,293,200 in 2007. Mercedes-Benz delivered 1,125,900 (2007: 1,180,100), while Smart increased unit sales to 139,000 cars from 103,100.

The division’s EBIT of EUR2,117m in 2008 was substantially lower than its prior-year earnings of EUR4,753m; in the fourth quarter of 2008, Mercedes-Benz Cars’ loss amounted to EUR359m compared with a profit of EUR1,426m in Q4 2007.