Daimler and the Capital Market

Global stock markets remained volatile in 2015 and markets in some regions finished the year with substantial gains. European share prices benefited overall from the ongoing expansionary monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB), as well as from low interest rates. The Daimler share price increased by 12 % over the course of the year and thus once again outperformed the DAX. The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board propose an increased dividend of €3.25 per share (prior year: €2.45).

Volatile year on global stock markets

European stock markets began the year 2015 with substantial gains. The stock markets were boosted in particular by the expansionary monetary policy of the ECB, which supplemented its existing measures by initiating a government-bond purchasing program (quantitative easing, QE) with a total volume of €1.1 trillion. The DAX had risen by more than 25 % by the beginning of April, reaching record highs during that period. Subsequently, however, the further escalation of the Greek debt crisis had a negative impact on the development of the index, as concerns surrounding the possible consequences of a potential Greek exit from the euro zone led to increased volatility. The share-price losses of companies with high export volumes were slightly higher than those of the market as a whole, as the euro was able to recover somewhat from its weak position against the dollar. After share prices rose slightly in July, developments on international markets were negatively affected by reports of slower growth for China’s economy, turbulence on Chinese stock markets and uncertainties regarding the interest-rate policy of the Federal Reserve in the United States. As a result, share prices fell significantly in Europe and the United States in August. Given the importance of the Chinese market for vehicle manufacturers, automotive stocks were significantly impacted by the aforementioned developments. There were also further concerns at the time that economic growth in the United States might have already peaked. But it did not take long for the markets to recover, and many sectors were able to recoup at least some of their previous share-price losses. The ongoing decline in oil prices and disappointment related to the ECB’s decision not to expand its bond purchasing program led to very volatile share-price movements in December.

The index of the most important shares in the euro zone, the Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50, rose by 4 % in 2015. The leading German index, the DAX, performed significantly better, rising by 10 %. The DAX also broke through the 12,000 mark for the first time ever in April 2015 and reached a new all-time high of 12,375 on April 10. In Japan, the Nikkei-Index climbed by 9 % over the year, and in the United States, the Dow Jones fell by 2 % over the year. (See table A.01)

A.01 Development of Daimler’s share price and of major indices

  End of 2015 End of 2014 15/14
      % change
Daimler share price (in euros) 77.58 68.97 +12
DAX 30 10,743 9,806 +10
Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50 3,268 3,146 +4
Dow Jones Industrial Average 17,425 17,823 -2
Nikkei 19,034 17,451 +9
Dow Jones STOXX Auto Index 566 501 +13

Daimler share price up by 12 % over the year

Financial markets responded very favorably to the publication of the Daimler Group’s results for 2014, the positive outlook for 2015, and the recommendation that the dividend be increased from €2.25 to €2.45 per share. This helped the share price to rise considerably (by 30 %) in the first quarter of 2015 alone. On March 16, 2015, the Daimler share price reached €95.79. This was the highest price for the year and also the highest value for Daimler shares in several years. However, the Daimler share price was also not immune to growing concerns regarding the escalation of the Greek debt crisis, as well as the market turbulence in China. Many investors pulled out of the market for a short period in August, and automotive stocks were significantly impacted by this development in light of the importance of the Chinese market for vehicle manufacturers. A short period of recovery followed in the run-up to the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, due in part to our solid sales development throughout the summer months. Starting in mid-September, reports regarding irregularities with diesel emissions of a competitor’s vehicles led to significant declines in share prices also for other automakers and automotive suppliers. In this situation, our share price reached its low point of the year (€63.26) on September 29, 2015.

International stock markets then made substantial gains once again in the fourth quarter, and our share price increased at an above-average rate. Daimler shares closed at €77.58 on December 30. At the end of the year, the company had a market capitalization of €83.0 billion (2014: €73.8 billion). Daimler’s share price thus increased by 12 % over the course of the year, outperforming the DAX (+10 %) and in line with the Dow Jones STOXX Auto Index (+13 %). When the dividend payout of €2.45 per share is included, our shareholders saw the value of their investment rise by 16 %.

Stock exchanges started the year 2016 with falling prices worldwide. The main unsettling factors were concerns about China, tension in the Middle East and the sharp fall in commodity prices. At 9,798 at the end of January, the DAX was 9 % lower than at the end of 2015.

Dividend of €3.25

The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will recommend the payment of a dividend of €3.25 per share at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on April 6, 2016. (See table A.02) We are thus raising the dividend substantially once again (+33 %), and letting our shareholders participate in the company’s financial success. The total dividend will amount to €3,477 million (2014: €2,621 million), which is by far the highest dividend payout in Daimler’s history.

A.02 Key figures per share

  2015 2014 15/14
Amounts in euros     % change
Net profit 7.87 6.51 +21
Dividend 3.25 2.45 +33
Equity (December 31) 50.06 40.81 +23
Xetra price at year end1 77.58 68.97 +12
Highest1 95.79 71.14 +35
Lowest1 63.26 56.01 +13

1 Closing prices

A broad shareholder structure

Daimler continues to have a broad shareholder base of approximately 900,000 shareholders. (See graphic A.07) The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) currently owns 6.8 % of the company’s stock, making it Daimler AG’s largest single shareholder. The Renault-Nissan Alliance continues to hold 3.1 % of Daimler’s shares. BlackRock Inc., New York, still holds a stake above the 5 % reporting limit as defined by Germany’s Securities Trading Act (WpHG). In December 2015, BlackRock notified us that its proportion of the voting rights was 6.12 % on November 26. The Norwegian Finance Ministry informed us that on October 26, 2015, the shares held by Norges Bank, Oslo, dropped below the reporting limit of 3 %. As of that date, the bank held 2.99 % of the voting rights in Daimler.

A.07 Shareholder structure groups

The aforementioned and all other voting-rights notifications as well as notifications of shareholdings pursuant to Germany’s Transparency Directive Implementation Act are published on the Internet at daimler.com/investors/share/voting-rights.

A.03 Daimler share price high low 2015
A.04 Share price index

A.06 Stock-exchange data for Daimler shares

ISIN     DE0007100000
German Securities Identification Number     710000
Stock-exchange symbol     DAI
Reuters ticker symbol     DAIGn.DE
Bloomberg ticker symbol     DAI:GR

Institutional investors hold a total of 74 % of our equity capital while private investors own 16 %. Approximately 65 % of our capital is in the hands of European investors and around 24 % is held by US investors. (See graphic A.08) Daimler shares’ weighting in major indices rose further during the reporting year as a result of the overall share-price rise. With a weighting of 8.67 % (2014: 8.51 %), Daimler was ranked second in the German DAX 30 index at the end of 2015. (See table A.05) In the Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50 index, our shares had a weighting of 3.63 % (2014: 3.46 %), which put them in fifth place. Daimler shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt and Stuttgart. A total volume of 1,188 million shares were traded in Germany in 2015 (2014: 957 million). Daimler shares are also increasingly being traded on multilateral trading platforms and in the over-the-counter market.

A.08 Shareholder structure regions

A.05 Key figures for Daimler shares

  End of 2015 End of 2014 15/14
      % change
Share capital (in millions of euros) 3,070 3,070 0
Number of shares (in millions) 1,069.8 1,069.8 0
Market capitalization (in billions of euros) 83.0 73.8 +12
Number of shareholders (in millions) 0.9 0.9 0
Weighting in share indices      
DAX 30 8.67 % 8.51 %  
Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50 3.63 % 3.46 %  
Long-term credit ratings      
Standard & Poor’s A- A-  
Moody’s A3 A3  
Fitch A- A-  
DBRS A (low) A (low)  

Employee share purchase plan implemented once again

Staff members entitled to purchase employee shares were able to do so once again in March 2015. As was the case in the prior year, the employees received a discount as well as bonus shares. At 11.7 %, the participation rate was lower than in 2014 (15.4 %). A total of 20,400 employees took part in the program (2014: 26,600), purchasing just under 300,000 shares (2014: 390,000).

Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in a new venue with an all-new Daimler corporate design

Our Annual Shareholders’ Meeting took place for the first time in the new CityCube in Berlin on April 1, 2015. The modern building offered the perfect atmosphere for an elegant presentation of the Group’s new corporate design. Some 5,000 shareholders (2014: 5,500) attended the meeting, despite very stormy weather in Berlin. A total of 36.15 % of the equity capital was represented at the meeting (actual attendees and shareholders who voted by absentee ballot). A large majority of the shareholders approved each of the agenda points proposed by the company’s management. For example, the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting approved the highest dividend in the company’s history (€2.45 per share; 2014: €2.25) and re-elected Dr. Paul Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG, as a shareholder representative on the Daimler AG Supervisory Board. All of the documents and information regarding the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting can be found at daimler.com/investors/events/annual-meetings. In the exhibition areas of the CityCube, Daimler presented its technological expertise and broad range of products and services. The presentation highlights included the F 015 research vehicle, which points the way to the future of autonomous driving with passenger cars and also attracted a lot of admiring looks during the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. Our trainees provided an insight into their work, and with “Mercedes me” the Mercedes-Benz brand presented services in addition to its products.

Continuation of comprehensive investor relations activities

In 2015, we once again provided institutional investors, analysts, rating agencies and private investors with timely information regarding the company’s business development.

We organized road shows for institutional investors and analysts in the finance capitals of Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. We also held many one-on-one meetings at investor conferences. This was especially the case at the international motor shows in Geneva and Frankfurt. Sustainability-focused investors were also able to meet and talk with company representatives at events held at the IAA and at a conference in Paris in November. We reported on our quarterly results in conference calls and webcasts. The presentations can be viewed on our website at daimler.com/investors/events.

The talks with analysts and investors focused on the latest earnings expectations for 2015, as well as on the business development and profitability of the individual divisions and regions. In addition, top-level managers from Mercedes-Benz Cars discussed the strategies and goals of their division during a capital market event held in June at our Mercedes-AMG motor sports subsidiary in Affalterbach, Germany. The audio recording and charts and illustrations from that event are also available online at daimler.com/investors/events.

Awards once again for the print and online versions of the Annual Report

Annual Report 2014 was created in a pilot project that already included elements of the new Corporate Design. The print version in the new brushed silver look and the online version with numerous additional features led to several prestigious national and international awards for Annual Report 2014. Daimler was also named the best listed company in Germany in the “Investor’s Darling” rankings of Manager Magazin, which took into account reporting, investor relations activities and capital market presence.

Corporate website with new software platform and layout

The broad range of information offered on our website at the existing address daimler.com was transferred to an entirely new and more powerful software platform in November and aligned with Daimler’s new corporate design as well. In addition to its many helpful features, the website has a responsive layout that allows it to be displayed easily on any device in an optimal size and format.

Number of online shareholders remains at a high level

Our shareholders continue to make good use of our range of personalized electronic information and communication. Approximately 84,000 shareholders once again received the invitation and agenda for the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting by e-mail rather than by post in 2015. We would like to thank those shareholders for helping to protect the environment and cut costs. As was the case in the past, those shareholders once again had the opportunity to win attractive prizes in a lottery. Access to the e-service for shareholders and additional information can be found at https://register.daimler.com.

Refinancing benefits from a high level of capital-market liquidity and good ratings

The ongoing expansionary monetary policies at central banks also impacted bond markets during the year under review. As a result of the high level of liquidity, companies with investment-grade ratings saw their risk premiums remain at an attractive level despite volatile markets.

In 2015, Daimler primarily covered its refinancing needs by issuing bonds. A large proportion of those bonds were sold as benchmark bond issuances (bonds with high nominal volumes) in euro and US-dollar markets. In the US capital market, for example, Daimler Finance North America LLC issued bonds worth a total of $9.5 billion in March, May and August 2015. The bonds had terms of 18 months and two, three, five or ten years. In addition, Daimler AG issued euro bonds in benchmark format with a total volume of €1.5 billion and terms of two and approximately four years. In 2015, Daimler AG also issued bonds in the Chinese capital market (so-called Panda bonds) worth a total of CNY 5.0 billion. Furthermore, many smaller bonds were issued by the Daimler Group in a variety of currencies in the euro market as well as in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Thailand and South Korea.

At the end of 2015, companies of the Daimler Group had issued bonds that were still outstanding in a volume of €51.4 billion (2014: €43.2 billion). Besides raising funds through the issuance of bonds, Daimler also issued a small volume of commercial paper in 2015.

Daimler also conducted several asset-backed security (ABS) transactions in the United States, Canada and Germany during the reporting year. In the United States, for example, the company generated a refinancing volume of US$5.8 billion through four issuances. A further C$0.4 billion was placed in Canada. In addition, Mercedes-Benz Bank used the Silver Arrow Platform to sell €1.0 billion in ABS bonds to European investors once again.

Objectives and Strategy
Highlights of 2015