surprise U-turn

Daimler's Not the Devil

Daimler for distort_effect
Daimler's AGM was an eye-opener for our author.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Marek Dutschke is an environmentalist and anything but a die-hard capitalist – and yet he has a high opinion of Daimler stock.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Martin Dutschke is a lapsed member of Germany’s Green Party.
    • He has a small number of shares in Daimler, owner of the Mercedes Benz brand.
    • The company held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Berlin last week.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m a member of the Green Party or, more specifically, of a green party corpse who believes in the idea but is no longer all that politically active. I say this now so that you’ll know that I am not a die-hard Daimler shareholder. Nevertheless, I am attending the annual shareholders’ meeting today.

I receive the magazine for Green Party members, called the Schrägstrich (Slash), at regular intervals. It contains brochures designed to help us invest our savings more effectively. Ads by Ökovision, a sustainable investment fund, appeal to our environmental conscience and call upon us to “invest your money ethically & environmentally.”

Green City Energy promotes a sustainable way of life with its slogan: “If you support the Energiewende (Germany’s phase-out of fossil fuels and promotion of renewable energy sources), now you can do something about it!”

Until last year, you could just toss these tempting offers into the trash and wonder whether anyone actually invests money on the basis of bulk mail. But that has now changed. Because of the low interest-rate policy of the European Central Bank (ECB), ordinary savers need to be concerned about their savings.

To be honest, I have never understood the investment options with renewable energy producers. And why should I? My children provided me with hope, perhaps my son would become a professional soccer player and take care of me in my old age. But Plan B is safer. Plan B is simple: I become a shareholder. In my view, Mercedes wasn’t just a high-quality product, but also a potentially worthwhile investment. And so, in 2009, I became a co-owner of Daimler AG.

This year, I decided to learn more about my company. I signed up for a spot at the annual shareholders’ meeting in Berlin. I was so excited when I imagined that I would be picked up in a black S-Class at my home in the Friedrichshain neighborhood of Berlin and driven through the city. But when I received my registration, it merely contained a ticket for travel on public transportation. Was Daimler in trouble? Was the stock price in decline?

As a shareholder, after all, you have to interpret even the tiniest signs. But when I noticed that item two on the agenda was called “Increasing the Dividend,” I quickly regained my composure.

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