Economic review

Geely defends disclosure practices in Daimler share deal

2018-05-14 09:31:00 (Beijing Time)         Global Times/Agencies

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Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group said on Sunday that it accurately disclosed the transactions involved in the purchase of a 9.69 percent stake in German car giant Daimler AG, contending it had not violated German disclosure rules.

German market regulator Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) never raised an objection to Geely's disclosure on February 23 when deal was finalized, Geely said in a statement it sent to the Global Times.

However, BaFin required Geely to provide additional information on its activities on February 22, and Geely informed investment banks on February 22, and its stockholders have in theory agreed to the potential transaction.

"But such internal communication is not legally binding. Both sides have no legal obligations until they officially signed the agreement on February 23," said the statement.

Geely contended that the request is based on a new interpretation of the law by BaFin, which was only released for the first time on Wednesday.

The comment came after the BaFin found that transactions to buy the Daimler stake on behalf of Geely Chairman Li Shufu did not meet German disclosure rules, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper said.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley should have disclosed its transactions on February 22 rather than on February 23, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, quoting a letter written on behalf of German Finance Ministry official Christine Lambrecht.

BaFin, which is overseen by Germany's Finance Ministry, was not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Morgan Stanley was part of a group of banks that helped Geely's chairman buy a stake in German carmaker Daimler in a way that skirted disclosure rules.

Geely said that the notice to Morgan Stanley on February 22 does not mean the deal was finished, and it was only completed on February 23.

Violating disclosure rules can carry a penalty of up to 2 million euros ($2.39 million) for individuals, and up to 10 percent of annual revenues for corporations.