Stuttgart (dpa) – Daimler shareholders almost unanimously approved the split into two independent companies for cars and commercial vehicles.
There was also 99, 9 percent yes votes, as the chairman of the supervisory board Bernd Pischetsrieder announced on Friday at the end of an extraordinary general meeting. “Today is a historic day,” said the head of Daimler Truck, Martin Daum.
Essentially, it is about separating the big truck and bus business from the group and going public by Christmas bring to. The soon-to-be independent commercial vehicle manufacturer is planned to be listed in the important Dax stock market index. Daimler shareholders are to be given additional shares in Daimler Truck.
Separate routes for trucks and cars
At Daimler, cars and trucks have so far come from the same house. The truck business at Daimler also has a long tradition and has roots in 19. Century back. It has long been overshadowed by the larger and more prestigious auto business. Daimler Truck sees itself as the world market leader in commercial vehicles and has over 100. 000 employees.
With the separation under the code name “focus” should be “added value for all sides”, said CEO Ola Källenius. Both companies should become stronger and more competitive. “We secure existing jobs – and create new ones.” The car business is fundamentally different from the truck division.
With a view to the transition from internal combustion engines to new drives, the Daimler boss added: “In passenger cars, the focus is on the battery. The fuel cell also plays an important role in trucks. ” The entire industry is facing risks and huge challenges due to billions in investments in e-cars and self-driving vehicles. Other companies are following the merger – for example, the European Stellantis group 14 leads car brands, including Peugeot, Fiat or Opel.
Daimler’s split will cost around 700 million euros, said CFO Harald Wilhelm. These one-off costs would, among other things, relate to the division and development of the financial services business. In addition, higher running costs are expected at Daimler Truck, which are initially estimated at around 250 million euros per year. Former Siemens boss Joe Kaeser is to become chief supervisor at Daimler Truck.
The demand for vehicles is excellent, summed up Källenius. However, due to the shortage of electronic components, not all customers can be served on time. The shortage affects the entire industry. «We are working with our partners to normalize the situation. But the semiconductor shortage will still be noticeable next year. ”
Protected from unwanted influence
The online meeting raised questions about possible takeover attempts in the future, among other things . Truck boss Daum said it would create two strong companies. Daimler’s minority stake in Daimler Truck Holding of 35 percent also offers protection from undesirable influence. There are fears among experts that the individually managed car business in the future could become more susceptible to takeover attempts. Compared to some of its competitors, Mercedes-Benz is a comparatively small manufacturer. Källenius is pursuing the strategy of running Mercedes-Benz as a luxury brand. According to him, there is no guarantee that the goals of the separation will all be fully achieved.
The division for cars and vans is to be run as Mercedes-Benz Group AG in the future. The name Daimler AG for the previous parent company will disappear completely at the beginning of next year. The shareholders also approved this name change.
“Trucks were always in the second row in the group,” said car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer of the dpa. The winner of the split is the previous commercial vehicle division. The dynamism of Daimler Truck has been impressive for several months, the expert concluded. With a view to the challenges facing the industry, he said that the future topic of autonomous driving is even more important for the commercial vehicle sector than for passenger cars.
The Mercedes-Benz brand name and the star can continue to be used by Daimler Truck. There is also a license agreement, as the top management reported. Less than a week after the general election, Kallenius, who came from Sweden, also spoke about politics. “We need effective climate protection and a strong economy – a signal of change,” he demanded. He did not express a preference for a particular coalition in Berlin.