By Victoria Waldersee
BERLIN (Reuters) - Daimler shareholders on Friday voted in favour of spinning off the company's truck division Daimler Truck Holdings AG, with shares in the new company to start trading in December.
Daimler Trucks & Buses is set to become the world's largest truckmaker after the spinoff is complete.
Shareholders representing 56.45% of Daimler's capital took part in the vote at an extraordinary shareholder meeting, with 99.9% voting in favour.
"Until now we've had to orient ourselves to the route taken by our car colleagues. In the future we can plan our own route and choose the path that is ideal for us," Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum said at the meeting.
Daimler shareholders will receive one share of Daimler Trucks for every two Daimler shares they own. Daimler will keep a 35% stake in Daimler Trucks, and provide it with a net liquidity of 5 billion euros until the end of the year.
Spin-offs have been a prominent way for large corporations to unlock value and respond to investors demanding a sharper business model.
The luxury carmaker, to be renamed Mercedes-Benz Group AG from next February to reflect its focus on the car and van business, expects the spun-off truckmaker to join it on the DAX listing of Germany's 40 largest firms in the first quarter of 2022, it said on Friday.
Daimler Trucks reported an 8.2% profit margin in the second quarter of this year, a recovery to pre-pandemic levels but still below competitors like Traton's Scania and Volvo Group's Volvo Trucks.
Prior to the pandemic the business turned over approximately 40 billion euros ($46.33 billion) in annual revenue with profits of around 2 billion.
The truckmaker will focus on developing its high-margin heavy truck business, CEO Daum has said, and is betting on a mix of battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles to reach its goal of CO2 neutral production by 2039.
It expects an annual return on sales of between 6-7% in 2021 rising to 8-9% in a stronger market environment, Daum said, below Daimler's expected return for its car and van business of 8-10%.
(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Jane Merriman)