Financial performance measures

Profit measure

The measure of operating profit at the divisional level is EBIT (earnings before interest and income taxes). EBIT thus reflects the divisions’ responsibility for profit and loss. EBIT that is calculated at the Group level takes into account centrally managed matters and eliminations. In order to provide a more transparent presentation of our ongoing business, we will additionally calculate and report adjusted EBIT for both the Group and the divisions from financial year 2020 onwards. The adjustments include individual items if they lead to material effects in a reporting period. These individual items relate in particular to legal proceedings and related measures, restructuring measures and M&A matters. Group EBIT minus the centrally managed income taxes equals net operating profit. (See table B.20 Net operating profit)

Return on sales

As one of the main factors influencing value added, return on sales is of particular importance for assessing the automotive divisions’ profitability. Return on sales is the ratio of EBIT to revenue, whereby unit sales are the primary source of revenue. The measure of profitability for Daimler Mobility is not return on sales but return on equity (the ratio of EBIT to average equity on a quarterly basis). On the basis of adjusted EBIT, we will report an adjusted return on sales (ROS) for the automotive divisions and an adjusted return on equity (ROE) for Daimler Mobility starting in the 2020 financial year.

Net assets

All assets, liabilities and provisions for which the automotive divisions are responsible in day-to-day operations are allocated to those divisions. Performance measurement at Daimler Mobility is implemented on an equity basis. Net assets at the Group level include the net operating assets of the automotive divisions and the equity of Daimler Mobility, as well as assets and liabilities from income taxes and other reconciliation items which cannot be allocated to the divisions. Average annual net assets are calculated on the basis of average quarterly net assets. (See »Value Added«)

Cash flow

A change in net assets - for example as a result of investments - generally leads to the application or release of liquid funds. Along with earnings, net assets thus also have a direct effect on the cash flow. Of outstanding importance for the financial strength of the Daimler Group is the free cash flow of the industrial business, which comprises the cash flows at the automotive divisions and the cash flows from interest, taxes and other reconciliation items that cannot be allocated to the divisions. The operating cash flow before interest and taxes (CFBIT) for the automotive divisions is derived from EBIT and the change in net assets. The cash conversion rate (CCR) is the ratio of CFBIT to EBIT over a period of time and is an important measure for cash-flow management. In order to provide a more transparent presentation of our ongoing business, we will additionally calculate and report the adjusted free cash flow of the industrial business and the adjusted CFBIT of the automotive divisions from financial year 2020 onwards. The adjustments include individual items if they lead to material effects in a reporting period. These individual items relate in particular to legal proceedings and related measures, restructuring measures and M&A matters. On the basis of adjusted CFBIT and adjusted EBIT, we will report an adjusted cash conversion rate (adjusted CCR) for the automotive divisions from financial year 2020 onwards.

Key performance indicators

The key financial indicators for measuring the operating financial performance of the Daimler Group, in addition to EBIT and revenue, are the free cash flow of the industrial business, investment, and expenditure for research and development. In addition, return on equity and new business are the key performance indicators for Daimler Mobility. As of financial year 2020, adjusted return on equity will replace return on equity as the key performance indicator for Daimler Mobility.

In addition to the financial indicators, we also use various non-financial indicators to help us manage the Group. Of particular importance in this respect are the unit sales of our automotive divisions, which we use as the basis for our capacity and human resources planning. The importance of the absolute number of employees as a performance indicator has been reduced, particularly in view of the increasing cooperation with partners in the form of partnerships and joint ventures. For this reason, the number of employees is no longer considered to be a key performance indicator.

Details of the development of non-financial performance indicators can be found in the chapters »Economic Conditions and Business Development« and »Non-Financial Report«.

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Corporate governance statement
Performance measurement system