By David Sachs

Mercedes-Benz Group raised its dividend but said it expects earnings this year to decline following lower sales and net profit in the fourth quarter of last year.

The German luxury-car maker said Thursday that net profit slipped 21.5% on year to 3.16 billion euros ($3.42 billion). Analysts expected net profit to finish the quarter at EUR2.80 billion, according to Visible Alpha.

Group revenue ticked down 1.8% to EUR40.26 billion after fewer cars and vans were sold. Analysts had forecast sales of EUR39.15 billion, according to Visible Alpha.

Mercedes hiked its dividend to EUR5.30 a share from EUR5.20 for 2022. Late Wednesday, the carmaker committed to share buybacks of up to EUR3 billion, expanding on a EUR4 billion program launched last year.

Looking ahead, Mercedes forecasts 2024 group EBIT slightly below last year's levels on stable revenue expectations. The firm expects an adjusted EBIT margin of 10%-12% in its cars division and 12%-14% for vans. Industrial free cash flow is expected to finish 2024 at slightly below last year's level of EUR11.3 billion, the company said.

"The economic situation and automotive markets continue to be characterized by an exceptional degree of uncertainty," Mercedes said. "Unexpected developments may arise in particular from geopolitical events and trade policy."

Write to David Sachs at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-22-24 0207ET