Unease over EADS
Daimler and Berlin Fight over Share Sale to Qatar
Executives at Daimler are opposed to a sale of the company's holdings in aerospace giant EADS to the the emirate of Qatar, and they are locked in a dispute with the government in Berlin. They fear the sale would lead to French dominance in future decision-making.
Executives with Germany's Daimler are currently locking antlers with members of the Federal Economics Ministry over the planned sale of the Mercedes parent company's shares in European aerospace giant EADS. Daimler wants to shed its 15 percent holding in the Franco-German air and space company, but the firm is in a dispute with Berlin over whether the shares should be
sold to Qatar.
The Economics Ministry is currently negotiating with Qatar as a possible investor, but executives at Daimler fear such a sale would shift the company's delicate balance of power towards the French. A high-ranking Daimler executive confirmed those concerns to SPIEGEL.
Daimler Seeks to Preserve German Interests
The French currently own 22.5 percent of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, and if they became the largest single national shareholder in the future they would be in a much stronger position to steer the company's future. For example, they could put German EADS production facilities, like the Airbus plant in Hamburg, at a disadvantage in future decisions. Daimler officials would instead prefer a deal in which the company sold its shares to the German government-owned KfW development bank in order to
protect German interests.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and former Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) would support that solution. However, Brüderle's successor in the role, FDP leader and Deputy Chancellor Philipp Rössler is not in favor. Rössler instead wants to reduce government influence at EADS. But "Qatar would be the wrong buyer" to ensure that, a Daimler executive said. After all, if Qatar did buy, the shares would be held by a state-owned fund.