经济学人官方译文 | 奔驰汽车的制造商可能很快将有五分之一股权落入中资手中

Daimler
戴姆勒
Two is traffic
双车追逐
A fifth of the Mercedes maker may soon be in Chinese hands
奔驰汽车的制造商可能很快将有五分之一股权落入中资手中

AT DAIMLER’S ANNUAL meeting in May, one shareholder captured the mood. “Don’t replace the Mercedes star with a Chinese dragon,” implored Deka Investment, a big asset manager, referring to the purchase in 2018 by Geely, a Chinese firm which also owns Sweden’s Volvo, of a 9.7% stake in the German car giant. Daimler now faces the rise of a second dragon. Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) is reportedly poised to double its holding in Daimler to almost 10%. This would put it ahead of Geely as the firm’s biggest shareholder.
在去年5月戴姆勒的年度会议上,一位股东的发言充分体现了普遍的情绪。“可别把奔驰的三叉星徽换成中国龙啊。”大型资产管理公司德卡投资(Deka Investment)的代表恳求道。他指的是2018年中国公司吉利(已收购瑞典沃尔沃汽车)购入了这家德国汽车巨头9.7%的股份这件事。现在,戴姆勒又面对第二条龙的崛起。据悉北汽集团准备将所持戴姆勒股份翻倍至近10%。这将使它超越吉利,成为戴姆勒的最大股东。

If Geely’s manoeuvre was a surprise, BAIC’s is not. In July the state-owned company grabbed 5% of Daimler. Though the dragon is not yet on the bonnet, it has long been under it: engines, powertrains and other parts that go into Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz cars sold in China are made under two joint ventures with BAIC set up since 2005. With Chinese car sales down in 2018 and 2019 after years of steady increases, domestic manufacturers are banking on premium cars for growth. So is Daimler, whose financial performance has been less inspiring than that of its cars. Its share price has nearly halved since 2015.
如果说吉利入股戴姆勒出人意料,北汽这次则不然。去年7月,这家国有企业获得了戴姆勒5%的股份。尽管龙还没有爬到引擎盖上方,但它早已雄踞在引擎盖之下:戴姆勒在中国销售的奔驰汽车的发动机、动力总成和其他零件都来自2005年后与北汽成立的两家合资企业。中国的汽车市场在多年稳步增长后,在2018年和2019年销量出现下降,国内汽车公司目前寄望以高端汽车销售带动增长。戴姆勒亦有此意,相比奔驰车的惊艳性能,其财务业绩黯然失色,股价自2015年以来跌去近半。

For BAIC, the relationship with Daimler is “of existential importance”, says Robin Zhu of Bernstein, a research firm. In 2018 sales from Beijing Benz, one of its ventures, grew by 16% year on year and accounted for 90% of BAIC’s total revenue. Mr Zhu notes that BAIC has long sunks profits from Beijing Benz—a tidy 10bn yuan ($1.5bn) in 2018—into “the bottomless pit” of BAIC’s domestic brands, which lost 6.5bn yuan.
对北汽而言,与戴姆勒的关系“攸关生死”,研究公司盛博的罗宾·朱(Robin Zhu,音译)表示。作为北汽合资企业之一的北京奔驰在2018年的销售额同比增长16%,占北汽总营收的90%。罗宾·朱指出,北汽长期以来用北京奔驰的利润(2018年达100亿元人民币之多)填补北汽国内品牌的“无底洞”(亏损达65亿元)。

A bigger stake in Daimler may be an attempt to restore the perception that BAIC, not Geely, is the Germans’ main partner. A spokesman for Daimler says it welcomes long-term investors, especially those it knows well. The German firm owns 9.6% of BAIC Motor, the Chinese company’s Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, and 3% of BluePark, another BAIC affiliate that makes electric cars and batteries.
增持戴姆勒股份也许是为正人视听——让大家知道北汽才是这家德国公司的主要合作伙伴,吉利不是。戴姆勒的发言人表示公司欢迎长期投资者,尤其是它熟知的公司。这家德国汽车巨头拥有北汽集团在香港上市的子公司北京汽车9.6%的股份,还持有另一家北汽子公司、制造电动汽车和电池的北汽蓝谷3%的股份。

Many Germans nevertheless worry. With another 5% or so the Chinese duo could block some strategic decisions, says Marc Tüngler of DSW, an organisation which represents the interests of German private investors. The pair could easily join forces. Geely may be privately owned but, Mr Zhu says bluntly, “both ultimately represent the Chinese state.”
尽管如此,许多德国人还是忧心忡忡。德国私人投资者权益保护组织DSW的马克·滕格勒(Marc Tüngler)表示,再增持5%左右的股份,这两家中国公司就能阻挠戴姆勒做出的某些战略决策。北汽和吉利联手是轻而易举的事。没错,吉利是私营公司,但“两者最终都代表中国政府”,罗宾·朱直言不讳地说。

Geely and BAIC may shun separate holdings above 10% to avoid triggering a review by BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator. But Daimler is apparently already worried that an enlarged Chinese stake may invite scrutiny from an American government body which vets foreign deals, including those between foreign firms with American subsidiaries. Another of Daimler’s Chinese joint ventures, with BYD, a maker of electric cars, may come under strain as Congress tries to bar federal money from paying for Chinese buses, which BYD sells to America. On December 15th China’s ambassador to Germany threatened to retaliate against its car industry if the country bowed to American demands to bar Huawei, a telecoms-equipment giant, from its networks. For Daimler, this requires some deft handling.
吉利和北汽可能不会分别持股超过10%,以免引发德国金融监管机构联邦金融监管局(BaFin)的审查。但戴姆勒似乎已经开始担心中资股份增加会惹来美国一个政府机构的审查(该机构审查涉外交易,包括在美国有子公司的外国公司之间的交易)。戴姆勒在中国与电动汽车制造商比亚迪组建的合资公司可能会受压,因为美国国会试图禁止使用联邦资金购买中国产巴士,而比亚迪正向美国出售巴士。12月15日,中国驻德国大使威胁称,假如德国屈服于美国,禁止电信设备巨头华为参与德国的网络建设,中国将对德国汽车业采取报复行动。对戴姆勒而言,这需要一番灵巧驾驭。