China’s BAIC seeks to buy 5 percent Daimler stake -sources

The logo of Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) is seen during the Auto China 2016 auto show in Beijing, China. (Reuters)
Updated 11 May 2019

China’s BAIC seeks to buy 5 percent Daimler stake -sources

BEIJING/FRANKFURT: China’s BAIC Group is seeking to buy a stake of up to 5 percent in Daimler as a way to secure its investment in Chinese Mercedes-Benz manufacturing company Beijing Benz Automotive, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
BAIC informed Daimler of its intention to buy a 4-5 percent stake in the German maker of Mercedes-Benz cars earlier this year, two of the three sources said.
BAIC has asked local authorities in Beijing to support a 4-5 percent stake purchase, two of these sources said.
BAIC has started acquiring Daimler shares on the open market, one source said.
“Daimler’s share price is currently being underpinned by a buyer who appears to be building a stake,” a person familiar with the matter said.
BAIC did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages seeking comment outside regular business hours. Daimler declined to comment.
It remains unclear whether BAIC Group can raise the nearly 3 billion euros that a 5 percent stake in Daimler would cost, based on the German carmaker’s closing market value on Friday of 57.6 billion euros, two of these sources said.
German regulatory filings do not show BAIC as a significant shareholder of Daimler. German takeover rules allow a buyer to acquire a stake of up to 3 percent before a regulatory disclosure is required.
Daimler has ruled out issuing new stock to help an outside party build a stake, forcing potential buyers to acquire shares on the market.
BAIC signalled its interest in buying a Daimler stake as far back as 2015, and has redoubled its effort after Li Shufu, chairman of rival Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group built a 9.69 percent stake in Stuttgart-based Daimler in early 2018.
By using Hong Kong shell companies, derivatives, bank financing and structured share options, Li kept the plan under wraps until he was able, at a stroke, to become Daimler’s single largest shareholder.
The Germans in March agreed to build the next generation of Smart-branded city cars together with Geely, which is based in Hangzhou. Daimler has also reassured BAIC that any new industrial alliances involving Mercedes and a Chinese partner would only happen after a consensus is found with BAIC. (Editing by Georgina Prodhan, Brenda Goh, Jennifer Hughes, Douglas Busvine and Alexandra Hudson)


White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

US President Donald Trump arrives at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday. Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. (AP)
Updated 26 August 2019

White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

  • President’s comments appear at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the US leader

TOKYO: President Donald Trump said Sunday that he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, but the White House later reversed that message saying the president was misinterpreted and that his only regret in hiking tariffs is that he didn’t raise them higher. Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump suggested he had qualms about the spiraling conflict. “Yeah. For sure,” Trump told reporters when asked if he has second thoughts about escalating the dispute, adding he has “second thoughts about everything.”
But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump’s comments about US tariffs on China were “greatly misinterpreted.”
She said Trump only responded “in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” The comments appeared at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hard-nosed leader. But the later reversal fit a pattern for Trump in recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness.

HIGHLIGHTS

• President Donald Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France.

• White House said comments about US tariffs on China were ‘greatly misinterpreted.’

Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. Trump’s counterparts, including Johnson, are trying to convince him to back off his trade wars with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.

US-Japan agreement
Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Sunday a deal in principle on a major bilateral trade deal.
“It’s a very big transaction,” Trump said after talks with Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
“Billions and billions of dollars,” he said. “It involves agriculture, it involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We’ve agreed in principle.”

Amazon fires
Also on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that world leaders at the G7 summit have agreed to help the countries affected by the huge wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest as soon as possible.
“We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible,” he told journalists.