By Ruth Bender

 

BERLIN--Daimler AG on Thursday said preliminary figures show a near 80% plunge in first-quarter earnings before interest and tax, the latest example of the pain the coronavirus pandemic is inflicting on car makers around the world.

Daimler's EBIT fell to 617 million euros ($668 million) in the three months ended March 31 from EUR2.8 billion in the same quarter the prior year, according to preliminary figures released ahead of its full first-quarter earnings report on April 29. Adjusted EBIT, a closely watched measure, also fell sharply to EUR719 million from EUR2.31 billion.

Earnings declined across its Mercedes-Benz cars and vans, Daimler trucks and buses, as well as Daimler Mobility operations.

Daimler said it now expects revenue, EBIT as well as industrial free cash flow to drop this year from last year and warned that the full impact of the pandemic on customer demand, supply chains and vehicle production can't be assessed in full detail at this stage.

"Having implemented a comprehensive set of cash protection measures and having increased our financial flexibility, we are confident that we are well positioned to manage the business, both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic," the company said in a statement.

New car sales fell 55% in the European Union in March as most car dealerships were closed due to government shutdowns in the second half of the month, according to the European Auto Industry Association, or ACEA. Many manufacturers have begun to resume production.

 

Write to Ruth Bender at ruth.bender@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 23, 2020 08:27 ET (12:27 GMT)

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