Stock Take 25/05/2021

Is VW selling Lamborghini?

According to a media report, Volkswagen has received a billion euro bid for its sports car subsidiary Lamborghini. The Quantum Group, together with the London investment firm Centricus Asset Management, had submitted an initial offer of 7.5 billion euros, the magazine “Autocar” reported on Tuesday, citing purchase documents. Both VW boss Herbert Diess and Audi boss Markus Duesmann are aware of the offer, and Rea Stark, the co-founder of Piech Automotive, is named Quantum’s representative. 

The electric car start-up Piech Automotive management includes Anton Piech, the son of ex-VW boss Ferdinand Piech, and ex-Porsche boss Matthias Müller. However, it is currently unclear whether they are also involved in the purchase offer, the report added. Lamborghini has belonged to Audi since 1998.

Deutsche Bank share at multi-year high

In the year of the Corona crisis of all things, Deutsche Bank has ended its losing streak, and business continues to be good. Accordingly, the management of the Frankfurt DAX group is likely to present itself confidently to shareholders at the annual general meeting this Thursday (27.5.).

“After three years, we have not yet reached our goal – but we have come a long way,” said Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing in his pre-published speech at the shareholders’ meeting, which will be held online. “We still have construction sites – but we have also been able to close many construction sites already.”

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Sewing, who was promoted to the chief executive post in April 2018, has ordered Germany’s largest financial institution to restructure the group, including cutting thousands of jobs radically. One important goal is to reduce dependence on the volatile capital market business, which has made negative headlines with scandals and several expensive legal disputes.

However, despite the withdrawal from global equity trading, the investment bank contributed the lion’s share to Deutsche Bank’s profits in recent months. Above all, the bubbling business in the capital market business brought the institute its first annual net profit since 2014 in 2020.

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The management still sees potential in the share price. “Even if the share price is not yet where we would like it to be, it is pointing in the right direction – both in absolute figures and in a sector comparison,” Achleitner states. At least the management board is giving shareholders hope for better times after two rounds of zero dividends: “We are determined that next year we will finally be able to propose a dividend again at this point,” Sewing assured shareholders.

The Deutsche Bank share finally went up by 2.03 per cent to 12.27 euros in XETRA trading on Tuesday. It went up to 12.51 euros at the day’s high, its highest level since the beginning of 2018.

Antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

The attorney general of the US capital, Washington, has sued online retail giant Amazon over allegations that it abuses its dominant market position. “Amazon’s online retail platform benefits from and is protected by Amazon’s anti-competitive business practices,” the lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Attorney General Karl Racine states. Amazon controls between 50 and 70 per cent of online commerce in the US and ensures “artificially inflated prices”, he said.

The business practices of large online corporations are increasingly being scrutinised in the US. Last year, federal authorities and states already filed lawsuits against the internet giant Google and Facebook. Here, too, the accusation is of anti-competitive practices.

HeidelbergCement sells parts of its US business

HeidelbergCement sells its business activities in the West Region in the US to the US company Martin Marietta Materials. The sale price is USD 2.3 billion in cash, according to HeidelbergCement. The sale to Martin Marietta Materials is part of the portfolio optimisation and to improve margins.

HeidelbergCement CEO Dominik von Achten said that the group is thus streamlining its portfolio in North America and focusing on its most vital market positions. The company aims to grow faster in the four key regions of Canada, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South through selected acquisitions and capacity expansions. 

The transaction is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. Lehigh Hanson will continue to own and operate these facilities until that time. The sales price is far above the 1.5 billion dollars speculated by the media, wrote analyst Matthias Pfeifenberger of Deutsche Bank in a study. Analyst Sven Edelfelt of the investment bank Oddo BHF agrees that the price was well negotiated. The sales price was higher than expected, wrote Jefferies expert Glynis Johnson. UBS analyst Gregor Kuglitsch emphasised that HeidelbergCement is making progress in reducing its debt.

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The lucrative sale of US activities supported HeidelbergCement on Tuesday: On the XETRA trading platform, the shares of the building materials group rose to a peak of 75.86 euros. In the end, the share was 0.16 per cent higher at 73.62 euros.

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