By Arjen Bongard and Bettina Mayer Automotive News Europe
Berlin, Germany -- Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler has a problem. Her company, the Schaeffler Group, controls more than 80 percent of Continental.
But according to an agreement struck by the two suppliers earlier this year, Schaeffler has to limit its shareholding to 49 percent. Now here comes the difficulty: Schaeffler paid almost twice as much for the shares as they are worth now.
Schaeffler wants to sell a large part of its Conti stake., but if Schaeffler sold the stake at today's market price, it would lose as much as €3000 million.
"It cannot be ruled out that an investor with a long-term focus will have a larger shareholding in Continental," Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler told the Automobilwoche conference here last week.
But there was little clarity about potential buyers of the Continental stake.
One solution would be for Schaeffler to establish a cross-shareholding relationship between it and Continental. But Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler is emphatic that Schaeffler will remain a family-owned company.
The 67-year-old co-owner acknowledged that the current crisis in the global auto industry is also taking its toll on the supplier.
Job cuts are "possible," she said. But she reaffirmed her belief in the company's surprise move earlier this year to bid for Continental.
Closer cooperation between Schaeffler and Continental would enhance the competitiveness of both she said. "We want to more closely link the automotive businesses of both companies."
From Automotive News Europe (A Crain publication)