Daimler-Benz rebounded from a record loss to a higher-than-expected net profit of 2.8 billion deutschemarks (about HK$12.82 billion) last year as Germany's largest industrial company wrote off costs from a reorganisation. The car-maker's net profit, after a net loss of 5.7 billion marks in 1995, was nearly 40 per cent greater than most analysts had expected. Daimler attributed the increase in net profit in part 'to the one-time effect of deferred taxes'. Daimler said it would pay a dividend of 1.10 marks per share after paying no dividend for 1995. The company's shares surged 4.5 per cent on the news. Over six months, Daimler shares have risen 60 per cent. Daimler declined to say whether its aerospace unit, Daimler-Benz Aerospace returned to profit. A spokesman said Daimler's Mercedes heavy truck and Temic microelectronics unit 'did not contribute to profit growth'. Daimler said operating profit swung to 2.4 billion marks, in line with expectations, after an 1995 operating loss of 1.09 billion marks in 1995. Operating profit was 2.8 billion marks. METALLGESELLSCHAFT: The German metals producer and trader said pre-tax profit rose 15 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year. Pre-tax profit rose to 38 million deutschemarks for the four months to January 31, compared with 33 million marks a year earlier. Sales rose to 5.9 billion marks up from 4.5 billion. IBM JAPAN: said pre-tax profit rose 27 per cent last year to 112.1 billion yen (about HK$7 billion). That is the third consecutive yearly increase, the company said. The unit of International Business Machines Corp of the United States said sales were 1.42 trillion yen, up 8.9 per cent on the year. UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: UOB, one of Singapore's four large local banks, said 1996 net profit rose 13 per cent as loans expanded 16 per cent. Profits rose to S$715.5 million (about HK$3.95 billion) from S$632.7 million. Net interest income rose 11 per cent to S$1.07 billion from S$961.2 million. The company's loans and advances rose 15.6 per cent to S$27.5 billion from S$23.8 billion. REDLAND: The British building materials company, said pre-tax profit before exceptional items fell 27 per cent last year, dragged down by poor weather and sluggish European markets. Pre-tax profit fell to GBP255 million (about HK$3.21 billion) from GBP355 million as sales fell to GBP2.55 billion from GBP2.75 billion. GUCCI GROUP: The Italian clothing company said strong demand for its leather goods and shoes more than doubled net profit last year. The Florence-based company said full-year consolidated net profit rose to US$168.4 million, up from US$82.9 million the year before. Sales were US$880.7 million, up from US$500.1 million.