BMW's profits drop by 40%: Rival Daimler sets date for listing of shares in New York

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NET profits at BMW, the German luxury car maker, fell by nearly 40 per cent to DM255m ( pounds 100m) in the first half of 1993.

The results, which were worse than expected, triggered a steep drop in BMW's shares, which fell DM16.50 to DM562. Group turnover fell nearly 9 per cent to DM14.7bn, reflecting the parlous state of the home car market, while car production dropped to 277,000 from 312,986.

BMW said difficult operating conditions meant it would make and sell fewer cars in the year as a whole, although it still expected to make a profit. 'Measures begun years ago to strengthen earnings power allow us to expect a further positive result,' it said.

While not expecting a recovery in the international car market in 1993, BMW said the recession in Europe might bottom out in the second half of the year.

BMW's arch-rival, Daimler- Benz, announced yesterday that it would list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange on 5 October.

Daimler is the first German corporation to do so, and its decision has been seen as an important break with Germany's more conservative, secretive accounting tradition. In order to gain permission for the listing, Daimler had to make a number of concessions to the Securities and Exchange Commission, including reporting operating, investing and financing cash flows.

There has been speculation that other large German firms might follow Daimler's example, but most appear to be waiting to see the outcome of its move, and the extent to which it will have to open its books.

Daimler's shares, with an overall market value of DM32.2bn, are also traded in Tokyo, London, Paris and Vienna.

About one-third of the shares are held by an estimated 400,000 shareholders, around half of whom live outside Germany. Of the remaining shares, 28 per cent are held by Deutsche Bank, 25 per cent by Mercedes AG Holding, and an estimated 14 per cent by Kuwait.

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