Wenn the largest German dividend payer Mercedes Benz opens its coffers in April and the shareholders share in the profits, then the coffers ring in Kuwait, Beijing and Hong Kong. According to calculations by the consulting firm EY, of the almost 5.4 billion euros paid out this year, 3.5 billion euros ended up abroad and just under 1.9 billion euros in Germany. The Beijing Automotive Group is the largest Mercedes shareholder, followed by Tenaciou3 Prospect Investment Limited, which includes the Chinese automaker Geely. In third place was the Kuwait Investment Authority, the small oil state's sovereign wealth fund. 27 percent of the Mercedes shares are held by these three major shareholders, a further 38 percent by other, mainly institutional foreign shareholders. German shareholders account for 35 percent.
Things aren't much different for the other big dividend payers. Allianz distributes EUR 2.7 billion abroad and EUR 1.7 billion domestically Siemens almost 2.3 billion euros abroad and almost 1 billion in Germany.
The bottom line is that according to EY calculations, of the good 50 billion euros that were paid to shareholders in corporate profits this year in the Dax shares, 27 billion euros go abroad, 18 billion euros domestically and a good 5 billion euros cannot assign clearly. This is also reflected in the proportion of shares: 53 percent of the Dax shares are in foreign hands, almost 30 percent in domestic hands and around 17 percent are not broken down exactly by the companies and can therefore not be clearly assigned.
The proportion of German shareholders is falling
There is no clear trend in this development. However, there has been a slight decline in the domestic share. In 2015 it was 31.5 percent, now 29.7 percent. It reflects the importance of shares in the individual countries. According to the Deutsche Bundesbank, the majority of financial assets in Germany are held in current accounts, savings accounts and call money accounts. Stocks only play a secondary role. In other countries, the proportion of shares is sometimes significantly higher. In addition, old-age provision in Germany is largely based on the pay-as-you-go system - the employees pay monthly contributions that go straight to the pensioners, there is no capital reserve in this system.
Other countries, on the other hand, rely much more on savings on the capital market, which are then held to a large extent in shares for reasons of return. British, American, Canadian and Dutch pension funds are often large shareholders in German companies. Germany also does not have a sovereign wealth fund as a major shareholder, like countries like Singapore, Norway or Kuwait to have. At least 24 percent of the Dax shares are held in other European countries, 22 percent in North America and 7 percent in the rest of the world.
Among the DAX companies, the apartment rental company Vonovia, the German Stock Exchange and the aircraft engine manufacturer are particularly popular with foreign shareholders MTU. At least 86 percent of Vonovia shares are in foreign hands, at least 80 percent are held by Deutsche Börse and MTU. In 24 of the 40 Dax companies, the majority of the shares are in foreign hands. It is probably the case for five others, but cannot be said with certainty because of some shares that cannot be clearly assigned. However, 11 of the 40 companies probably or certainly have a German majority. This is usually due to an important German major shareholder. Mercedes still holds a good part of the shares in Daimler Truck and Siemens in Siemens Healthineers. At Hannover Re it is Talanx AG. The Henkel family has a decisive influence on Henkel, the Herz family on Beiersdorf, the Quandt family on BMW, the executor of Horst Sartorius on Sartorius and the Porsche and Piëch families on Porsche SE as well as with the state of Lower Saxony on VW.
Private investors dominate BASF and Deutsche Telekom
Private investors play a particularly important role at BASF. 43 percent of the shares are in the hands of German private investors, 7 percent are in the hands of German institutional investors. Many private investors have also been involved with Deutsche Telekom since the IPO and, together with the German state, ensure a German majority in the shareholder base.
Recently, the proportion of German shareholders at Zalando has increased significantly, Porsche SE, Adidas and Covestro. However, more foreign shareholders have become involved with Continental, Deutsche Bank and Fresenius. Compared to 2010, the EY calculations have shown that the proportion of German shareholders has increased significantly at Covestro, Infineon, Munich Re, Puma and Linde, while the proportion of foreign shareholders has increased noticeably at Continental, RWE, Qiagen and SAP.
There has been a shift in the composition of foreign shareholders towards more North American investors, while the European share has decreased. The rest of the world, including China, does not play a major role in the DAX companies with a few exceptions such as Mercedes-Benz. The Middle East is also mainly represented by Kuwait at Mercedes and Qatar at Volkswagen, but is otherwise not of great importance.