DaimlerChrysler will keep a stake of at least 15% in aerospace group EADS for the long term. That word came during the carmaker’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Berlin. It is currently reducing its shareholding from 30% to 22.5%.
The new Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche also said if it does cut its holding to 15% it will strive to maintain the balance between German and French shareholders.
Since taking over the top job at the start of the year, Zetsche has cut thousands of jobs. He justified that by saying: “We’re aware of the responsibility we have to our employees, but also to society. Precisely because we take this responsibility seriously, there is no alternative but to continue improving our competitiveness; only if we grow profitably will we be able to guarantee the company’s future and consequently guarantee jobs.”
Zetsche told shareholders sales growth for the Mercedes division may beat forecasts this year. And he repeated that sales at US arm – Chrysler – would hold steady in 2006 and increase significantly over the next few years.
Analyst Stephan Droxner thinks Zetsche is doing well in his new role. Droxner said: “He’s really a very good manager. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a tough guy when it comes to decisions, but he has a way of involving his staff in pursuing the difficult road ahead for DaimlerChrysler.”
Zetsche got a much warmer reception than former CEO Juergen Schrempp at last year’s shareholders’ meeting, but investors made it clear they are still not satisfied with DaimlerChrysler’s performance.