Geely Boss Becomes Daimler's Biggest Shareholder By Acquiring $9 Billion Stake

Daimler's Need For An Anchor       The Mercedes Benz owner has very few strategic shareholders              Source Bloomberg

With revenue exceeding RMB 270 billion (about United States dollars 43 billion) in 2017, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is China's largest privately owned automotive manufacturing company and one of the world's leading providers of electro-mobility.

Li Shufu acquired the 9.7 per cent holding through Geely Group, a company owned by the billionaire and managed by his carmaking group, according to a company statement today.

It's no secret that Geely was looking to strike an alliance with Daimler the past few months over EV technologies, as the Chinese government's requirements for cleaner cars create pressure on automakers.

The chairman of a Chinese automaker has taken a 10% stake in German automaker Daimler AG. According to Reuters, that makes Li Shufu, Geely's chairman, Daimler's single largest shareholder.

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Only two to three manufacturers will survive in the auto industry moving forward, said one source who is familiar with the way Li thinks.

Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton said: "It's not clear what Geely wants and how it's going to work, but we view this move as part of a broader Chinese move to gain involvement in the European automotive industry". "Daimler already has a strong footing in China".

The size of the investment leapfrogs a 6.8% stake in the Stuttgart-based group held by Kuwait and Renault-Nissan's 3.1% holding.

The stake will not be owned by Geely.

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Geely Holding has increased its expansion drive.

Not only it is known as owner of Swedish automaker Volvo Cars, at the end of 2017, the company also became known as the largest shareholder of the commercial vehicle manufacturer Volvo Trucks. Geely plans to start selling a compact five-seat SUV, now marketed under the Lynk & Co brand, outside China from mid-2019.

With Li's backing, Volvo recently outlined plans to create a brand of upscale electric cars, called Polestar, that is meant to compete with Tesla.

He added that Geely could give Daimler an important partner.

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"The competitors which technologically challenge the global auto industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today", Li said in the statement.

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