Position of the management on the countermotions for the Annual Meeting of the Shareholders to be held on April 4, 2012
The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board maintain their motions as presented in the Agenda and state their positions on the countermotions as follows:
Earnings and dividend
The year 2011 was very successful for Daimler. New records were posted for Group revenue and EBIT. Group EBIT increased by 20% to €8.8 billion and net profit rose by 29% to €6.0 billion. In total, Daimler set numerous new records in the jubilee year of the automobile. The Mercedes-Benz Cars division also achieved its highest levels of unit sales, revenue and EBIT in the company’s long history.
The free cash flow of the industrial business amounted to €1.0 billion despite the increased expenditure for investment and research and development, the allocation of €2.0 billion to the pension plan assets and a payment of €0.7 billion in connection with the takeover of Tognum.
We want our shareholders to participate appropriately in Daimler’s success once again, and at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting will propose the payment of a dividend of €2.20 per share (2010: €1.85). This represents a total dividend distribution of €2.3 billion or 41% of the net profit attributable to Daimler shareholders. That is, we are continuing with our policy of a 40% distribution ratio while strengthening our equity ratio with a substantial allocation to retained earnings.
Promotion of women
In recent years, Daimler has continuously increased the proportion of women in its total workforce and also in management positions. At the end of the year 2011, the proportion of women in the total workforce was 13.9% (2010: 13.5%). In management positions of levels 1 to 4, the proportion of women increased at an above-average rate from 11.6% to 12.4%. During the year 2011, 30% of the persons promoted to management levels 1 to 3 were women. In order to further increase the proportion of women at the various management levels, the company has defined its own targets for both Germany and worldwide, which are integrated in the executives’ individual target agreements. One of those targets is to increase the proportion of women in upper management positions to 20% by the year 2020.
These targets take into consideration industry-specific circumstances and the overwhelming proportion of male graduates in technical subjects and natural sciences, which is between 80% and 95% in Western Europe.
Among the ten members of the Supervisory Board representing the shareholders, we already have two female members – Ms. Sari Baldauf and Ms. Petraea Heynike. And the first female member of the Board of Management – Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt – was appointed in February 2011.
Women and men are treated equally at Daimler in terms of job classification and pay. Daimler also makes great efforts to offer women attractive employment after the end of maternity leave, irrespective of whether they decide in favor of full-time or part-time work.
Daimler and the Group Works Council already reached a company agreement in 2004, which is still valid today, on securing the personnel flexibility that is required nowadays. This ensures that the company – also in the interests of the employees – can participate quickly and flexibly in the current economic upswing. Temporary employees (also often described as temporary agency workers) are a supplement, not a replacement, for the core workforce. Another aspect is that temporary employment at Daimler also acts as a bridge to permanent employment. We have taken on approximately 2,700 temporary workers as permanent employees since the year 2005, and this year we will take on some more.
The hourly pay for our temporary workers in the plants is the same as the entry-level pay for our permanent employees and is related to the requirements of the tasks to be carried out. At present, the hourly rate for temporary workers is €17.05. At sites with increased personnel flexibility, shift supplements are also paid. Christmas and other bonuses are paid to temporary employees in line with the terms and conditions of the respective employment agencies.
Our workplaces, where temporary employees are also deployed, are subject to strict health and safety regulations in line with the German Employee Protection Act. Hazard assessments exist for each workplace as a basis for our health and safety standards. Temporary employees are therefore not subject to an increased accident risk compared with the core workforce. There is no difference in the safety instructions given at the workplace because temporary workers are integrated in the regular routine of working instructions. Items issued for personal protection are also identical.
Pursuant to applicable law, employment agencies have to inform temporary workers about all vacant positions. The Daimler intranet includes the “Daimler Job Center” module. In this way, temporary employees are able to find out about job advertisements at Daimler also without having their own user password on the computers where they are working or in the human resources departments.
Export of goods with military applications
For Daimler, the correct export of goods in conformance with the law is a basic principle of responsible entrepreneurial activity. In its area of influence, Daimler AG has established an efficient export-control mechanism that is subject to external reviews. The company strictly adheres to the applicable provisions of German foreign trade legislation.
In addition, we have introduced internal processes for government and government-related transactions that include a critical review. In some cases, we decide not to follow through with transactions that would be thoroughly legal, but which contradict our corporate ethics. In this context, one must consider that political conditions can change without prior notice, as we have recently observed in many countries.
Tognum has assured us that its engines for military applications are also exported solely on the basis of the German Foreign Trade Act and the appropriate export regulations.
Involvement in South Africa during the apartheid era
We regard the claims pending in the United States concerning apartheid as unfounded. We also regard the claims as being inadmissible in the United States of America, because the matter itself has no relation to that country. The German government, the European Commission and many other countries are of the same opinion.
We did not cooperate at any time with the South African security forces to help maintain the apartheid system. Within the scope of our possibilities, we made efforts for the equal treatment of our South African employees regardless of race, in connection with pay or access to our educational facilities for example. The company agreements between our South African subsidiary and the trade unions at the end of the nineteen-eighties were actually taken over into national labor law after the end of apartheid.
Independently of the legal questions, we are well aware of our social responsibility in South Africa. Daimler continues to be involved in numerous social projects in South Africa with a focus on the areas of education, health, environmental protection, the arts and culture, and security; we have thus been making an important contribution to the achievement of social change in South Africa for many decades. Daimler was and is an active player in questions of social transformation in South Africa and has an excellent reputation in the country.
Stuttgart, March 2012