Daimler prepares for potential profit warning

The head of German carmaker Daimler said on Wednesday that European demand had been weaker than expected in early 2013, paving the way for a possible lowering of the company's annual targets.

Daimler prepares for potential profit warning
Photo: DPA

“Not much tailwind is anticipated from the markets in the coming months,” a company statement quoted CEO Dieter Zetsche as telling the annual shareholder’s meeting.

“For Europe in particular, there are no signs of a trend reversal,” he was quoted as saying.

“Daimler will therefore reassess whether its previous market-related assumptions for 2013 are still valid,” Zetsche said, adding the company would give more information about full-year earnings expectations when it publishes its first-quarter results.

The group, which produces Mercedes cars and trucks and the Smart city car, is due to publish those results on April 24th.

It had banked on increasing sales this year and in 2014 and posting earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) barring exceptional items of about €8.1 billion ($10.6 billion) for 2013, along the same lines as last year.

The group reiterated on Wednesday that it expects the second half of the year to be better than the first.

Daimler said it had sold more cars, vans and buses in the first three months of this year than in the same period a year earlier despite the fact that “many markets were weaker than expected at the beginning of 2013.”

“That applies in particular to the markets for cars and commercial vehicles in Europe,” it said.

Meanwhile, US auto giant General Motors will invest €4 billion ($5 billion) in its German subsidiary Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall in 2013-2016, its chief announced Wednesday.

“As a global automotive company, GM needs a strong presence in Europe, in terms of design and development as well as manufacturing and sales,” GM chairman and chief executive Dan Akerson said at Opel headquarters in western Germany.

Opel is “on the right track” and has GM’s “full support” in its restructuring plan as well as its aim to balance its books by mid-decade, Akerson told gathered Opel chiefs, local politicians and workers.

The German carmaker has been making losses for years as it has been slow to react to the crisis in demand for cars in Europe, and GM has ordered Opel’s management to prescribe draconian cost-cutting.


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It’s official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

While anyone living in Switzerland might not have needed the reminder, a new study shows the cost of living in Switzerland is the highest of anywhere in the world.

It's official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

Switzerland topped the list well ahead of Norway in second place, with Iceland, Japan and Denmark rounding out the top five. 

The rankings, put together by CEO World magazine, took into account rent, groceries, purchasing power, restaurants and the cost of living in 132 countries across the globe. 

European countries featured prominently in the top 20, while countries in Asia and the Caribbean were also prominent. 

Switzerland top of the list

Not only did Switzerland top the overall list, but it also ranked highly in several individual metrics, making the cost of living there officially the highest in the world. 

READ: Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

Groceries in Switzerland are also more expensive than anywhere in the world, ranking a full 30 points higher than second-placed South Korea. 

But if you’re looking to avoid the grocery shop, eating out in Switzerland is also more expensive than anywhere else in the world. 

The only bright light in the rankings is Switzerland’s national purchasing power – which is also top of the list – perhaps explaining why the Swiss love to travel or even just shop abroad. 

This is of course more beneficial elsewhere, with the benefits of the country’s excellent purchasing power somewhat eroded by high prices at home. 

Photo: CEO World

In fact, the only metric Switzerland doesn’t top is rental costs. That’s not to say renting in Switzerland is cheap, but it trails Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg on the international rent index. 

READ MORE: Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland 

Least expensive countries

Among the least expensive countries, central Asian nations rank highly. Pakistan is officially the least expensive, followed by Afghanistan, India and Syria. 

The least expensive European country on the list is Kosovo (124th) followed closely by Georgia (123rd). Romania is the least expensive European country on the list, in 99th place. 

Top ten most expensive countries as per CEO World magazine

1. Switzerland

2. Norway

3. Iceland

4. Japan

5. Denmark

6. Bahamas

7. Luxembourg

8. Israel

9. Singapore

10. South Korea