B Class Electric Drive-05

In a report by Automotive News Europe, Daimler AG has made the decision to sell its 4% stake in Tesla Motors, an electric car maker from America. The company bought into Tesla in 2009 to gain access to the latest battery technology.

Industry observers are indicating that both companies now saw each other as potential rivals as the electric car market begins to heat up. “There is a difference between working together and partnership. In our view the ties between the two companies have loosened over time,” states analysts at ISI Research.

In an official statement issued by Daimler, the company says that cooperation deals are still active, stating that shareholding was not required for both companies to continue working together. Tesla has yet to comment on the sale and future projects between itself and Daimler.

Tesla Motors currently provide the technology required by Daimler to manufacture electric variants of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and Smart ForTwo. Back in 2009, Daimler acquired a bigger stake in Tesla Motors, which eventually decreased to 4% prior to the sale.

Below is Daimler AG’s official statement:

Daimler restructures cooperation with Tesla

Daimler AG (stock exchange symbol: DAI) has reorganized its cooperation with Tesla Motors Inc. In this context, Daimler has terminated the share-price hedge it initiated in 2013 and has sold its stake in Tesla of approximately 4%. The cooperation between the partners on the automotive projects is unaffected. Development work for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is completed, the partnership with Tesla remains in place.

“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,” stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Furthermore, the batteries for the first generation of the smart fortwo electric drive had been from Tesla. The two-seater with electric drive is one of the best-selling electric cars in Germany. “Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued”, added Zetsche.

Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Finance & Controlling and Financial Services: “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.”

The sale of Daimler’s stake in Tesla will result in a cash inflow of around$780 million, which will be used to strengthen Daimler’s operational business. The impact on EBIT for the year 2014 is approximately in 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,” explained Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

Daimler has the industry’s biggest portfolio of electric vehicles, from cars and vans to buses and light trucks: smart electric drive, Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL, B-Class Electric Drive, B-Class F-CELL, SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive, Vito E-CELL, Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid, Fuso Canter E-CELL and Freightliner Custom Chassis MT E-CELL All-Electric. Systematic hybridization is also a fixed element of Daimler’s powertrain strategy. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz sold more automobiles with hybrid drive than all other German manufacturers combined. The focus will continue to be on plug-in hybrids in the coming years. By the year 2017, Mercedes-Benz Cars will launch ten new plug-in hybrid models in all market segments.

Daimler initially acquired a 9.1% interest in Tesla in May 2009. 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.