At its so-called annual strategy day, Michelin had only partly good news to tell. Following the disastrous Firestone tyre recall, the price increases in the US-replacement market appear to have stuck. However, recent price increases in the US truck tyre replacement market have not held and this is squeezing the EBIT margins. For the first time ever, analysts were allowed to see a tyre made by the C3M process. Michelin is convinced that it can increase market share significantly in the UHP market with the help of C3M, while analysts from Deutsche Bank see C3M as a key driver to achieve an EBIT margin of 10 per cent in 2005, compared to 7.6 per cent in 2000.
Deutsche Bank AG sees potential in Michelin shares, which lost about 10 % at the stock exchange last week, and they recommend these as a “buy”. On the one hand analysts foresee cheaper raw material prices and on the other hand they believe that, as Michelin is focussing on the high end of the market, the company will be the winner because American consumers are making a flight to quality after the recall of Firestone tyres.
Despite the difficult environment which is not likely to lead to improvements in the coming half year Deutsche Bank is recommending Michelin shares as a “Buy”. The analysts believe that the focus on high performance tyres will pay off and they believe also that, due to the anticipated sale of the Pirelli truck division, competition will be lower in the future for Michelin, which is very strong in that market.
Despite excellent results and an on-going buy recommendation from Deutsche Bank, Continental shares are not rising. The management has announced that the “intelligent tyre” is to be fitted as OE from 2003 but refuses to name the car manufacturer. The management also feeds speculation regarding a joint venture partner for brakes in Asia. Will this help the share price to rise?
A Deutsche Bank analyst raised the Goodyear rating to “buy” because he believed in a turnaround story. Some analysts agreed, others saw Goodyear shares still only as “neutral”. But now it is different. Based on the latest statements from Goodyear, there are massive doubts regarding volumes and whether the pricing trend will be favourable. Analysts now believe that the situation will not improve before next year and that Goodyear shares will remain low.
In an interview with the German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Conti boss Kessel said that Pirelli would be an ideal partner for the tyre business, as this would produce significant synergies. To date, there has been no contact with the Italians over this matter.n According to Kessel, Continental need not fear any possible hostile takeover attempt because the car manufacturers would be very interested in maintaining competent and independent suppliers. In addition, the company could rely on strong backing from its individual important shareholders, such as Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank and Allianz insurance company, which together hold 16%. Kessel did not mention the fact that, in light of the low stock price, analysts had changed their minds last week and that most, if not all, of them do not regard Continental shares as a “buy” any longer. Hard times for Continental!
DaimlerChrysler have said that they regard the nine billion Dollar law suit by its third largest shareholder, the Tracinda Investment Group, as completely unfounded. The lawsuit alleges that DaimlerChrysler have deliberately deceived the US Stock Exchange Control Institution as well as the shareholders. Analysts predict that this law suit has little chance of success. Although Deutsche Bank, the main shareholder of DaimlerChrysler, have demonstratively supported the management, the car manufacturer’s share price went down significantly to 45.85 Euros.
Deutsche Bank has announced that it will sell-off its industrial holdings which are worth about 40 billion Euro based on current share prices. This move has been made possible by recent German tax reform, effective from 2002, which makes capital gains by corporations tax free. The Bank has an 8 p.c. stake in the German tyre manufacturer Continental which is presently worth about 200 million Euro.