FILE PHOTO: The logo of German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is seen at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Daimler (DAIGn.DE) said it expected the operating profit of its Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans division to be above the prior-year level, even as the corona pandemic forced the Stuttgart-based car and trucks maker to abandon its outlook earlier this month.

First-quarter earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was 617 million euros ($669.45 million), down from 2.8 billion euros in the year-earlier period, of which 510 million euros came from the Mercedes-Benz cars unit.

Daimler expects group revenue and EBIT to be below 2019 levels but given substantial one-off charges in the year-earlier period, the Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans division is now seen delivering EBIT above prior-year, the company said.

Last week Daimler (DAIGn.DE) pre-released preliminary results, showing a plunge of nearly 70% in first-quarter operating profit and warned that the cash flow it uses to pay dividends would fall this year.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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