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DaimlerChrysler to Delay First-Quarter Results

AP
Tuesday, 27 Mar 2007 | 9:58 AM ET

Automaker DaimlerChrysler, which is considering how to handle its struggling U.S. unit, said Tuesday it will delay the announcement of its first-quarter results because of its changeover to international accounting standards.

The postponement also means the German-American automaker will be reporting results after it hold its annual shareholder meeting April 4 in Berlin, as rumors swirl about possible buyers for the Chrysler unit.

DaimlerChrysler said it would announce results on May 15 instead of April 26 because of delays due to its switch from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles to International Financial Reporting Standards.

For "comparative reasons, this also necessitates the preparation of retroactive IFRS financial statements for the year 2006," the company said.

DaimlerChrysler said it still intends to publish its 2006 consolidated statements, based on IFRS, on April 26. The first-quarter 2007 report will be released on May 15.

Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche publicly floated the idea of a Chrysler sale in February, when he said all options were open for the U.S. operations. Since then investors, markets, employees and suppliers have been itching to find out what will happen to Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler.

Cerberus Capital Management LLC and a consortium of investors led by Blackstone Group each have reviewed Chrysler's finances and are expected to make bids.

Although Daimler-Benz paid $36 billion for Chrysler in 1998, industry analysts have placed its value at anywhere from nothing to $13.7 billion (10.33 billion euros). Estimates vary with the value placed on assets such as brand names, factories and materials, all weighed against Chrysler's estimated $19 billion (14.32 billion euros) long-term liability to pay health care benefits for unionized retirees.

Some analysts say the liability exceeds the value of the assets, meaning DaimlerChrysler would have to pay someone to take Chrysler. Others say the company is worth more to the right buyer.

Shares of DaimlerChrysler rose 3% to 62.06 euros ($82.32) in Frankfurt, a five-year high.

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