DaimlerChrysler left investors guessing about plans to return excess cash to shareholders as the German carmaker reported second-quarter operating profits on Wednesday in line with market expectations.
Earnings before interest and tax fell to 2.13 billion euros ($2.90 billion) in the quarter from 2.37 billion a year earlier, when it had booked a one-off gain worth over 800 million.
Revenue slipped to 23.8 billion euros from 24.6 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
The average of eight estimates in a Reuters poll of analysts was for EBIT from continuing operations of 2.09 billion euros on sales of 23.95 billion during the quarter.
The company, which sold a majority stake in U.S. arm Chrysler Group to buyout firm Cerberus Capital Management in May, forecast that the group in its new structure would have 2007 EBIT of around 8.5 billion euros.
The sale in May of an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler and its North American financial services business for 5.5 billion euros has pushed the company -- to be renamed Daimler AG in October if shareholders agree -- out of the world's 10 biggest carmakers by sales. But the move has also cut its exposure to gyrating earnings at Chrysler.
DaimlerChrysler said it now anticipated a charge against earnings of 2.5 billion euros in 2007 as a consequence of the Chrysler sale. This is less than the estimate of 3-4 billion euros it had made in May.
DaimlerChrysler has said it will decide by early next year at the latest what it will do to reduce the excess liquidity of around 10 billion euros it expects to have on its books at the end of the third quarter.
Some market participants had hoped it would say something about this as early as today.
It said it got a cash inflow of 25.6 billion euros when the Chrysler transaction closed.
DaimlerChrysler shares slipped 0.3 percent to 62.51 euros by 8:46 a.m. EDT while the DJ Stoxx European car sector index dipped 0.4 percent.