GERMANY: Daimler restructures Tesla cooperation
- Dieter Zetsche: "Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued."
Tesla supplied batteries for first generation Smart Fortwo EV. Line was recently redesigned and expanded (photo) in a more recent cooperation deal with Renault
Daimler said it had reorganised its cooperation with Tesla Motors by terminating the share-price hedge it initiated in 2013 and selling its Tesla stake of about 4% without affecting the cooperation between the two on automotive projects.
Daimler initially acquired a 9.1% interest in Tesla in May 2009. Some 40% of that investment was transferred to Aabar Investments PJSC in the context of a joint strategic project in July 2009. Tesla has been listed on the stock exchange since the end of June 2010. As a result of capital increases at Tesla, Daimler’s stake in the company decreased to around 4% without affecting the two companies’ strategic cooperation or joint development projects.
"Development work for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is completed, the partnership with Tesla remains in place," Daimler insisted in a statement.
"We pursue our strategy for emission-free driving consequently. Electric vehicles are one component of this roadmap. In Tesla we do have a bold partner. Together we launched the B-class Electric Drive successfully in the United States this summer. In November, the B-Class Electric Drive will be launched in Europe as well. We are convinced that this powerful electric vehicle for every day use will appeal to a lot of customers, said Daimler chairman and Mercedes-Benz Cars chief Dieter Zetsche.
Batteries for the first generation Smart Fortwo electric drive were supplied by Tesla and Daimler claims the two-seater is one of the best-selling electric cars in Germany.
"Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued," added Zetsche.
Daimler finance head Bodo Uebber added: "We are extremely satisfied with the development of our investment in Tesla but it is not necessary for our partnership and cooperation. For this reason, we have decided to divest of our shares. This will also allow Tesla to broaden its investor base."
Daimler said sale of its Tesla stake would result in a cash inflow of around US$780m which would be used to strengthen Daimler’s operational business. The impact on 2014's EBIT result would be about the same amount.
"We have supported Tesla as a startup company for many years and have learned a lot from Tesla. At the same time, Tesla was able to profit from our automotive expertise. The cooperation with Tesla is one component of our activities in the field of electric mobility. It optimally complements our involvement in Deutsche ACCUmotive," said Thomas Weber, Daimler's group research chief.
Daimler said its focus would continue to be on plug-in hybrids in coming years. By 2017, Mercedes-Benz will have launched 10 new PHEVs in all market segments.
Termination of share-price hedging and sale of 4% stake in Tesla
Ongoing cooperation on current projects
Daimler to continue sourcing powertrain for Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive from Tesla
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued.”
Original source: Daimler