BMW investor Klatten increases stake in SGL Group

Susanne Klatten, Germany's richest woman and a major BMW shareholder, increased her stake in carbon fiber maker SGL Group to keep Volkswagen in check.

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Reuters reported on May 18 that Germany's richest woman, BMW investor Susanne Klatten, has secured a blocking stake in SGL Group to keep Volkswagen at bay in a tussle over carbon fiber technology.

According to the report, SGL said that Klatten, heiress to the fortune of German industrialist Herbert Quandt, raised her stake in the company to 27.3 percent, giving her the right to veto strategic decisions, and aimed to lift it to about 29 percent over the next 12 months, up from 22 percent previously.

Klatten, whose fortune is estimated to be $15 billion, holds 12.6 percent in BMW, while the Quandt family owns a combined 46.7 percent of the carmaker.

In October 2009, SGL struck a cooperation deal with BMW on lightweight carbon parts for its i3 electric vehicle, also known as the Megacity Vehicle, a few months after Klatten emerged as a major shareholder in SGL. SGL has since said it does not rule out collaboration agreements with other carmakers.

Reuters noted  that Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, in February surprised the market and Klatten by acquiring an 8 percent stake SGL. That prompted Klatten to announce she was observing VW's actions with vigilance and could easily get a blocking minority stake in SGL if needed, a pledge she has now made good on.

VW reiterated that it currently has no plans to raise its SGL stake beyond 10 percent. A spokesman for Klatten told Reuters that Klatten's investment vehicle SKion has no plans for a full takeover of SGL, but SGL itself said that SKion would continue to influence the appointment of top executives and directors.

Click here for original Reuters report.