One-off gain from EADS stake sale helps mask fall in Daimler's Q4 operating profit

A one-off gain from a stake sale helped offset a fairly modest performance on the operating level to boost Germany's Daimler AG's net profit in the last quarter of 2012.

The Stuttgart company said Thursday that fourth quarter net profit was €2.3 billion ($3.1 billion), up from €1.79 billion in the same quarter last year, thanks to the sale of 7.5 percent in European defense company EADS.

That sale, which reaped a €709 million gain, masked a 2 percent fall in Daimler's operating profit in the period to €8.6 billion from €8.8 billion in 2011.

CEO Dieter Zetsche says there's "clear potential for improvement."