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DaimlerChrysler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche

REBECCA COOK/REUTERS

Auto and transportation giant Daimler AG issued financial results 12 hours ahead of schedule Wednesday, becoming the second major company this month to do so.

A release headlined "Daimler's earnings once again at a high level" was sent out by e-mail to about 50 reporters globally early Wednesday afternoon, about 12 hours ahead of the scheduled release of 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

Daimler sent out an e-mail containing a news release with third-quarter and nine-month financial results at 12:40 p.m. ET and followed it up two minutes later with an e-mail asking recipients to ignore the 12:40 e-mail. At 12:45, the company sent out an e-mail saying the news release was not valid.

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"This is not the final figures yet," Daimler spokeswoman Andrea Berg said in a telephone interview. "I sent this by mistake and it's not to be published as it is and the release will go out tonight around 1:30 a.m."

The issuance of a news release by Daimler came less than a week after a similar error by tech giant Google Inc., which surprised markets last Thursday with an inadvertent premature release of third-quarter results that were below expectations and roiled stock markets.

In the release, Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche warned that the company's full-year annual earnings before interest and taxes will not match those of 2011, "but will still post good earnings once again."

The 12:40 news release showed earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) falling 2 per cent in the three months ended Sept. 30 to €1.92-billion ($2.48-billion U.S.) from €1.97-billion.

For the first nine months of 2012, EBIT fell 4 per cent to €6.29-billion from €6.58-billion, the statement said..

Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars and Daimler trucks grew during the quarter despite what the company called difficult conditions in some markets.

Revenue rose 8 per cent, but higher expenses caused by growth in Mercedes-Benz car offerings and a "product offensive" at Daimler trucks caused the drop in EBIT.

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Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars set a third-quarter record of 345,000. Sales of Daimler trucks rose 3 per cent to 119,100 vehicles.

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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