The Daimler Group has announced they would split up to spin-off and list Daimler Truck AG on the stock market as an independent company. The passenger car division, which will soon be renamed Mercedes-Benz, wants to focus on electric drives and vehicle software.
Daimler’s passenger car and van divisions and the truck & bus businesses are each to form a single “pure play” company. According to Daimler, the “fundamental change in the corporate structure” is supposed to exploit its business units’ full potential in “a zero-emissions, software-driven future”.
The Board of Management and Supervisory Board had decided to evaluate a spin-off of the Truck & Bus business and to begin preparations for an independent stock market listing of Daimler Truck. However, the majority share of Daimler Truck is to be transferred to the current Daimler shareholders. So Daimler Truck AG will have an ownership structure similar to that of today’s Daimler AG, at least at the beginning. Changes may then occur over time. Daimler Truck will gain “full entrepreneurial freedom in the course of this, as well as having an independent corporate governance structure with an independent chairman of the supervisory board.”
Daimler states that the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2021 when the shares will be traded in Frankfurt for the first time. They said the aim is for Daimler Truck to meet the criteria for inclusion in the Dax. To ensure that Daimler is not listed twice on the Dax, the passenger car and van business then plan to rename Mercedes-Benz.
“This is a historic moment for Daimler and the beginning of a profound transformation of the company,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. “Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans and Daimler Trucks & Buses are different businesses with specific customer groups, technology paths and capital needs.” Both companies operate in industries that are undergoing extensive technological and structural change, he said. “We believe they will be able to operate most effectively as independent entities, equipped with strong net liquidity and free from the constraints of a conglomerate structure,” the CEO said.
According to Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the supervisory board, an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in the third quarter will vote on the move. Bischoff, however, left open whether the event would be held in person or virtually. At the extraordinary general meeting, shareholders will learn of the deal’s details, which are now being worked out.
The transformation and technology paths Källenius is addressing are clear: electromobility and digitalization. “Mercedes-Benz is the most valuable luxury car brand, offering discerning customers the most desirable cars in the world,” Källenius said. He added that one is “committed to its claim to leadership in electric drives and vehicle software.” However, the Swede did not get any more specific. As a result, it will probably not be until around the Annual General Meeting that there will be more detailed information on what goals the two companies will set themselves. So far, the plan has been for Daimler to achieve a carbon-neutral new car fleet in 2039.
Mercedes has already unveiled the EQA this year. Later in the year, the electric flagship EQS is to be presented. The EQB as a compact SUV and the EQE as an electric E-Class counterpart are still planned. Both the EQE and the EQS are also to get an SUV derivative.
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