Geely Group, a company owned by entrepreneur Li Shufu and managed by Zheijang Geely Holding Group, has acquired a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler AG, through open market purchases of shares. This makes it the largest stakeholder in the German automaker, followed by Renault Nissan. The company made regulatory disclosures after the close of markets on 23 February 2018.
Meanwhile, Daimler AG confirmed that Li Shufu has acquired 9.69% (103,619,340 shares) of the company. In a statement, the company said: "Daimler is pleased to announce that with Li Shufu it could win another long-term orientated shareholder, which is convinced by Daimler’s innovation strength, the strategy and the future potential.
"Daimler knows and appreciates Li Shufu as an especially knowledgeable Chinese entrepreneur with clear vision for the future, with whom one can constructive discuss the change in the industry. Daimler has got a broad-based portfolio and footprint in China and with BAIC a strong partner on site."
“Daimler is an outstanding company with a first-class management. It will be an honour to support this unique team under the leadership of Dieter Zetsche in the future,” said Li Shufu, chairman and owner of Zheijang Geely Holding Group. “I am particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming the world’s leading electro-mobility provider.”
The share purchase makes Li Shufu currently the single largest shareholder of Daimler AG and points to a long-term commitment. For the time being, neither the Geely Group nor any other company in the Zheijang Geely Holding Group intend to acquire additional shares. Li Shufu said that he will fully abide by the company charter and governance structure of Daimler AG and respect its values and culture.
With revenue exceeding RMB 270 billion (US$ 42.7 billion) in 2017, the Zheijang Geely Holding Group is China’s largest privately owned automotive manufacturing company and one of the world’s leading providers of electro-mobility. Major assets of the group include leading Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., Hangzhou (46 percent), Volvo Cars, Gothenburg, Sweden (100 percent), Volvo Trucks, Gothenburg, Sweden (8.2 percent), Lotus Motor Cars, Norfolk, UK (51 percent), Proton Cars, Malaysia (49.9 percent), London Taxi, Coventry, UK (100 percent) and China’s largest car-sharing provider, Cao Cao (100 percent), operating a fleet of around 16,000 electric vehicles worldwide.
Li Shufu said,“The competitors that technologically challenge the global car industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today. But with challenges come opportunities. No current car industry player will be able to win this battle against the invaders from outside independently. In order to succeed and seize the technology highland, one has to have friends, partners, and alliances and adopt a new way of thinking in terms of sharing and united strength. And we have to act now. My investment in Daimler reflects this strategic vision.”