This was announced at the Annual General Meeting of the company which opens here today.
The decision, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, who is Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, was due to what he called, “unusual earnings situation.”
He told the stunned shareholders that “the decision was not an easy one.
“Before coming to our conclusion, we thoroughly and carefully weighed the pros and cons. Ultimately, the decision was clear,” stressed Dr Zetsche.
He told the meeting that, according to German corporate and commercial law regulations, a dividend payment for 2009 would only have been possible “if we had covered both the incured losses and the funds for the dividend with Daimler AG’s retained income.
“That, however, would have substantially restricted our freedom to act with regard to future dividend payments.”
As a consequence, Daimler AG has decided to finance the 2009 shortfall with its “much higher capital reserves.”
This decision, says Dr Zetsche, was in the long-term interest of shareholders because it “raises the dividend payment potential for our retained income in the years to come.
“We already plan to resume paying a dividend for the current year.
“The goal remains to achieve a payout ratio in the magnitude of 40 percent of net profit,” Dr Zetsche told the shareholders.
Dr Zetsche observed that during the year, Daimler managed to significantly reduce its vehicle inventories at all divisions, substantially improved its cash flow and increased its sales.
“In the fourth quarter of 2009, Mercedes was the fastest-growing and most profitable premium brand in the world.
“We successfully launched the new E-Class model family. The S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class sedans were world leaders in their segments in 2009. We also once again gave Mercedes “wings”: The SLS AMG was top highlight at the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt last fall.”
The AGM was informed that sales of Daimler trucks, vans and buses also began picking up in the second half of the year.