Daimler exits aerospace with EADS stock sale

GERMANY’S Daimler yesterday sold its remaining stake in EADS for about €2.2bn (£1.9bn), exiting its aerospace activities completely nearly 13 years after it helped to found the Airbus parent company.

Daimler said it placed 61.1m shares at €37 each, the top end of the range, amid strong demand from international investors.

EADS itself purchased €600m of its own stock as part of the placement.

“The proceeds from this sale are contributing positively to our free cashflow this year and, in addition to the earnings from our ongoing businesses, will also support our policy of stable dividends,” finance chief Bodo Uebber said in a statement.

Analysts welcomed the move because it helped to remove uncertainty over how Daimler would fund a payout for this year. The proceeds from the EADS stake sale nearly cover the €2.20 per share distributed after this month’s annual general meeting, which equates to roughly €2.3bn.

“The transaction should support the attractive dividend yield of Daimler shares, which is the main reason for our ‘hold’ recommendation,” DZ Bank analyst Michael Punzet wrote in a research note to clients.

UBS increased its dividend estimate to €2.10 from a previous €1.75 per share.

Daimler said it could even participate in a certain upside potential in EADS shares despite yesterday’s disposal, after entering into cash-settled derivative contracts with both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Daimler on Tuesday received a waiver from a six-month lock-up period and began immediately placing its remaining 7.5 per cent stake in Toulouse-based EADS.

Shares in EADS closed 4.85 per cent higher at €39 yesterday.