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Schaeffler wins control of Continental with a minority stake
Published:  21 August, 2008

Schaeffler has won its acrimonious battle to take control of the automotive parts giant Continental, after agreeing a deal which gives it a 49.99% stake in Continental, valuing the business at €12.1bn and creating the world’s largest car-parts manufacturer. The mother-and-son team of Maria-Elisabeth and Georg Schaeffler, who own the Schaeffler group, have agreed not to raise their stake in Continental for at least four years.

Continental’s chief executive Manfred Wennemer, who had accused Schaeffler of behaving "egotistically, high-handedly and irresponsibly" and of wanting to split up Continental, has resigned.

By holding a minority stake, Schaeffler does not have to take on Continental’s €11bn debt, arising largely from its €11.4bn purchase of Siemens’ VDO components business last year.

Continental’s sales, worth around €26.4m, are almost three time larger than Schaeffler’s, and its employs almost 150,000 people, compared to the 66,000 who work for Schaeffler. The two companies have a 13-year-old joint venture to produce timing belts for cars. Schaeffler already has interests in the automotive market through its bearings activities and its LuK clutches, which are used in one in four of the world’s cars.

Contitech belt

Schaeffler and Continental are expected to look for joint projects, especially in the powertrain division. Continental’s portfolio includes industrial transmission belts (above).

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