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Daimler pays $845 million for 12% stake in Chinese partner

Automaker looks to increase its footprint in the fast growing Chinese car market.

November 19, 2013   by The Canadian Press

BEIJING – Daimler AG has taken a 12% stake in its Chinese partner Beijing Automotive Group for $845 million, expanding its footprint in the fast-growing China auto market.

Beijing Automotive (BAIC) is one of China’s largest automakers and sold 1.7 million vehicles last year. Its decade-old joint venture with Daimler began producing Mercedes-Benz cars in 2006 and this year began making four and six-cylinder engines. It also produces Auman brand medium and heavy trucks.

As part of the new arrangement, BAIC will increase its stake in production joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Corporation from 50% to 51%. Daimler will increase its stake in their sales joint venture by the same amount to 51%.

“These numbers happily reflect the increased level of co-operation and mutual understanding this will generate for us,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

Around 210,000 Mercedes-Benz cars were sold in China last year, lagging behind chief competitors Audi and BMW.

Zetsche, however, said the company was growing in China faster than its luxury car rivals, largely on the strength of new models such as the highly profitable large S-Class luxury sedan.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Daimler’s net profit rose 53% in the third quarter thanks to a stronger performance from Mercedes-Benz, which benefited from demand for its small cars.

China’s auto market is set to expand by about 15% his year, with the premium sector expected to grow at a slightly higher rate.

©The Canadian Press


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