Automotive industry: Mercedes boss Källenius warns of the consequences of a gas supply stop

automotive industry
Mercedes boss Källenius warns of the consequences of stopping gas deliveries

Ola Källenius, CEO of the Mercedes-Benz Group. Photo: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Russia could also turn off the gas tap for Germany – this scenario concerns Mercedes-Benz. At the shareholders’ meeting, there was also criticism of the Stuttgart climate course.

In view of a possible interruption in Russian gas supplies, Mercedes boss Ola Källenius has warned of drastic consequences.

“Should there be a gas supply stop, that would affect large parts of the economy,” said the CEO of Mercedes-Benz on Friday at the online general meeting in response to questions. The manufacturer needs gas for production and for heating factory buildings.

The Federal Network Agency has not yet communicated how the car manufacturer would be affected by rationing, said Källenius. The people of Stuttgart are therefore in contact with the authorities and are preparing possible steps to reduce their own gas consumption. An oil embargo, on the other hand, would not have a direct impact on production, but could affect suppliers and logistics companies, Källenius told shareholders.

If gas should become scarce, the Federal Network Agency would distribute it. It is not yet clear which companies would have to do without gas in an emergency.

Component bottlenecks exacerbated

The Russia-Ukraine war exacerbates bottlenecks in certain components at the manufacturer. The Stuttgart-based company works with suppliers from Ukraine who, among other things, supply cable harnesses, as Källenius said. In Russia, production and sales were interrupted, but customers with existing leasing and financing contracts are still being looked after. Last year, Mercedes obtained raw materials such as the precious metal palladium from Russia. The combined share of Russia and Ukraine in the Mercedes business has so far been around two percent. “We are complying with the sanctions,” said Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm, referring to Western sanctions against Russia.

Like other manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz is also affected by supply shortages for semiconductors. “The situation should improve this year,” said Källenius. Mercedes sold significantly fewer cars from January to the end of March compared to the same period last year. The decline in sales is solely due to the shortage of semiconductors. The demand for cars is high, it said.

Daimler Truck itself on the stock exchange

Thanks to high profits, the distribution increases to EUR 5 per share after EUR 1.35 previously. This includes a share of 70 cents from the commercial vehicle business, since Daimler Truck will not pay out a separate dividend for the past year. The now independent manufacturer of trucks and buses is also listed on the stock exchange. The Daimler group was split up last year – the car and van business is now bundled at Mercedes-Benz. Daimler Truck runs the former Daimler truck business. In addition, Dame Polly Courtice and Marco Gobbetti were new members of the Supervisory Board.

The citizens’ movement Finanzwende criticized the increase in the dividend, because during the corona pandemic short-time work benefits were also paid to Mercedes employees. There was also criticism of the car manufacturer’s climate course. The fund company Union Investment, which belongs to the cooperative financial group, said: “Mercedes-Benz still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to sustainability.” For example, Mercedes-Benz missed CO2 emission targets in China and the USA on its own and bought pollution rights there.


source site-4