Daimler will sell half of EADS holding to focus on autos
BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Daimler is selling half its remaining stake in the European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EADS) to focus on cars and trucks.
Daimler's sale will raise about 1.66 billion euros ($2.17 billion) based on EADS's closing share price on Wednesday of 27.23 euros in Paris.
The automaker will invest the money in its auto businesses, including in research and development. "We want to concentrate on our core business of automotive manufacturing and mobility services," Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said in a statement.
An accelerated bookbuilding for 61.1 million EADS shares, or about 7.5 percent of the company, has already begun and is set to be completed today, Daimler said.
The automaker will sell more of its remaining 7.5 percent stake after a lock-up period of 180 days from the end of the sale of the initial tranche.
Daimler's sale is part of an overhaul of the shareholder structure of EADS, which is the parent of planemaker Airbus.
Germany will join France in holding 12 percent of EADS as part of changes that will eliminate governments' veto rights over business decisions.
The agreement frees Daimler from the obligations of serving as Germany's voice at EADS.
EADS shares have risen 23 percent over the past 12 months, valuing the company at 22.5 billion euros. Daimler stock has gained 9.9 percent over the same period, for a market capitalization of 40.8 billion euros.
Germany's KfW bank, which will hold the government's stake, will buy a 2.76 percent holding from Daimler and existing shareholders in the Dedalus consortium will buy a further 1.9 percent of EADS from the automaker.
Daimler helped create EADS more than a decade ago by merging its Dasa aerospace unit into the company. Daimler will decide on the timing and process for further sales in "due course," Uebber said.
In October, Daimler lowered its 2012 earnings forecast and scrapped profit targets for next year amid declining demand in Europe and increased competition in China. The company forecast full-year earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) will fall 11 percent to 8 billion euros ($10.4 billion), after a previous target of matching last year's 9 billion euros.
On Wednesday, Daimler said monthly sales of Mercedes- and Smart-brand cars rose 5.3 percent to 128,768 resulting in an 11-month total of 1.29 million, up 4.9 percent.Contact Automotive News