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Daimler Australia/Pacific posts $123m profit

Boosted: Incremental sales from the new A-Class helped Mercedes-Benz kick big sales goals in Australia during 2013.

Jump in Daimler Australia/Pacific profit in-line with local Mercedes sales boom

Mercedes-Benz logo14 May 2014

By IAN PORTER

DAIMLER Australia/Pacific capped off a busy year of new product launches by posting a 40 per cent jump in profit to $123 million in the year to December 2013.

The big lift in earning reflected a big rise in vehicle sales for the year, with another major factor being a big cut in interest costs thanks to lower interest rates.

The company ended the year in a strong cash position and directors demonstrated their confidence by more than doubling the annual dividend to the parent company, Daimler AG, from $50 million to $108 million.

Mercedes’ local arm had a very busy year in 2013, launching 10 new models across its main passenger vehicle ranges, principally the A-Class, updated E-Class, GL-Class, CLA and S-Class.

There was also a welter of AMG models launched including the A45 AMG, C63 AMG Edition 507, the S63 AMG, the CLS63 AMG S, the CLA 45 AMG.

The company’s financial results were disclosed in a filing with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Company directors offered no comments about the company’s operations during 2013, but registration figures showed that Mercedes-Benz dealers pushed a healthy 27,547 units out the door in Australia during the year, up from the 22,397 units sold in 2012.

These figures include Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles.

The 23 per cent surge in sales saw Mercedes-Benz’s share of the Australian market jump from 2.0 per cent to 2.4 per cent, enough for the brand to overtake Suzuki for 12th place outright on the list of Australian registrations in 2013.

The lift in sales boosted revenues by 9.1 per cent to almost exactly $3 billion (up from $2.49 billion).

An important factor in the profit growth was a decline in interest payments from $183.8 million to $145.5 million as the company reduced its reliance on funds from its parent company and refinanced on local and European capital markets.

While the total of interest-bearing loans rose from $1.53 billion to 1.74 billion, the makeup of the total changed significantly.

Loans from Daimler AG declined from $737.3 million in 2012 to $477.1 million while unsecured loans from banks were also down 12.5 per cent to $696 million.

These declines were offset by the issuing of $350 million in promissory notes and $219 million in commercial papers. There were no notes and papers in 2012.

The strong profit was recorded despite an increase in depreciation charges to $19.4 million ($14.9 million), while the write-down of parts and vehicles was $11.9 million ($9.58 million).

Daimler Australia/Pacific paid income tax of $53.5 million ($40.0 million).

As well as importing and distributing motor vehicles, the company provides the financing for the group’s New Zealand operations and also provides retail and wholesale financing and insurance services to support the vehicle operations.

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