In a surprising move
last week, Volkswagen acquired an 8% stake in SGL Carbon SE, with whom BMW has a joint venture for production of carbon fiber for the BMW i
models. While BMW and Susanne Klatten (one main BMW shareholder) is watching this closely, Financial Times Germany
now reports that VW is trying to play this move down as an investment and backs their claim by waiving a seat in SGL Carbon's Supervisory Board. "That's out of question," a VW Spokesperson told FTD and went on: "Neither are there any plans," when asked about VW's intentions to claim a seat in the SGL Supervisory Board.
This might look like a relief at first sight, yet Financial Times also reports that the Volkswagen Group has pretty good ties with SGL Carbon, even without being involved in the SGL Supervisory Board. Hubert Lienhard, CEO of Voith GmbH
, is member of the SGL Carbon Supervisory Board. Voith not only holds a 5% stake of SGL Carbon but also formed a development partnership with Audi three weeks ago. Much like the BMW/SGL Carbon Joint Venture, this partnership is "meant to promote industrialization of fiber-reinforced materials, particularly through developing a highly automated process chain for high-volume automotive production."
Needless to say that we'll keep an eye on this situation. It will be interesting to see which efforts BMW and Susanne Klatten will make to clear this conflict of interest. Further developments also depend on Volkswagen's true intentions. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn called the SGL stakes "strategic" so pretty much everything is possible, including a bidding war on SGL Carbon.
Source: Financial Times Germany