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Daimler's Profit Misses, Forecasts Higher Growth

Daimler forecast higher unit sales and underlying operating profit in 2008, sending its shares higher despite fourth-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) that missed market expectations.

Quarterly EBIT at the German carmaker more than tripled to 1.39 billion euros ($2 billion), but this badly lagged the average estimate of 1.94 billion in a Reuters poll of 20 analysts.

The group took 235 million euros in charges related to delays in the Airbus A400M transport plane at affiliate EADS. It also booked 322 million euros for restructuring at its former U.S. arm Chrysler, in which it sold a majority stake last year.

It proposed raising its dividend to 2.0 euros per share after five consecutive years of paying out 1.50 euros per share.

It also resumed its share buyback program to drain excess liquidity after the Chrysler sale.

Daimler shares rose 0.4 percent to 53.95 euros.