Daimler Transfers Its Renault, Nissan Stakes Into Pension Funds

  • Shift of $2 billion in assets boosts funding level by 6%
  • Move doesn’t affect carmaking cooperation with Renault-Nissan

Daimler AG is shifting its stakes in carmaking partners Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. into its pension fund to help plug a funding gap stemming from low interest rates.

The transfer of its 3.1 percent holdings in the French and Japanese companies will boost the German manufacturer’s pension fund assets by 1.8 billion euros ($2.0 billion), improving the funding level by about 6 percent, Stuttgart-based Daimler said Wednesday in a statement. The change has no effect on cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance that includes building compact cars together.

“With this contribution, we are again reinforcing our pension assets,” Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in the statement. “Regardless of the share transfer, we will continue the successful strategic alliance.”

Daimler and Renault-Nissan agreed in 2010 on a partnership to share development costs, engines and small-car technology. Part of the linkup included Daimler swapping a 3.1 percent stake for holdings of the same size in Renault and Nissan.

Companies worldwide are seeking ways to maintain retirement-fund levels to make up for cuts in interest rates and longer lifespans. Daimler’s move, which will help group earnings before interest and taxes by 500 million euros this year due to higher stake valuations, will boost its pension funding with no effect on cash flow, the carmaker said Wednesday.

Daimler’s cooperation with Renault and Nissan had already exceeded the companies’ five-year target of 4 billion euros in cost savings and extra revenue in 2014, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the French and Japanese companies, said almost two years ago.

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