Daimler makes 600-mn-euro provision for EU antitrust probe

18th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

German auto giant Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz vehicles, said Thursday that it was setting aside an additional 600 million euros to cover a potential European Union antitrust fine.

Last month the European Commission notified Daimler -- along with Germany's MAN and Sweden's Volvo -- that it was formally suspected of operating an illegal cartel to rig prices which could lead to heavy fines if proved.

An EU investigation of the companies started after raids on large truck manufacturers in 2011, which also involved Sweden's Scania and Italy's Iveco.

Daimler said it would make an "additional" provision of 600 million euros ($739 million) in the fourth quarter but declined to say how much it had initially set aside.

It said the new calculation was based on a thorough review of the case against it presented by the EU Commission in late November.

"The amount of the provision increase results from knowledge gained from inspecting these files," it said.

Daimler said the provision would affect its reported earnings in the current quarter and "be taken into account in the group EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) as a special reporting item".

But it said its earnings forecast for 2014 remained unchanged with a "significant increase" in EBIT expected this year.

"Daimler is cooperating with the authorities but will at the same time -- while stating the company's legal view -- safeguard its rights in the further proceedings," it said.

"It is also reviewing all of its procedural options."

Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said it was setting aside 400 million euros to cover the possible EU antitrust fine.

If found guilty the Commission has indicated that the companies could face fines of up to 10 percent of annual worldwide sales.

© 2014 AFP

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