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Friday, 18 September, 1998, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Shareholders back Chrysler-Daimler merger
Chrysler car
The companies have said they expect to save $1.4bn next year
A proposed merger between the American car giant, Chrysler, and the German car maker Daimler-Benz has been overwhelmingly backed by the shareholders of the two companies.

Daimler, Germany's largest industrial company, said 99.89% of shareholders represented at an extraordinary meeting in Stuttgart on Friday voted for the merger.

At least 75% of Daimler shareholders present or represented at the meeting had to vote in favour of the deal for it to be passed.

The vote by Chrysler shareholders, held in Wilmington in the state of Delaware, was more than 97% in favour.

The votes, which come despite concerns that many jobs could be lost, bring the two companies a step closer to creating the world's fifth-largest carmaker.

The boards of the two car giants agreed on the $40bn merger in May.

'Proud heritage won't be lost'

Daimler Benz workers
The firms have pledged not to cut jobs
Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton told shareholders: "This (merger) is different because it is not a desperate attempt by two weak companies to survive by leaning on each other.

"This is not a merger to rationalise costs...it's a merger to produce growth. We aren't destroying redundancies. We're creating opportunities," he said.

Robert Eaton assured Chrysler shareholders that both companies would continue to emphasise their respective identities.

"That does not mean we will ignore the past," he said. "The proud heritage of Chrysler won't be lost, nor will the proud heritage of Daimler-Benz."

He called the merger a "marriage" and said that in any mariage there is sadness at a loss, but joy at what everyone has gained.

About 58% of Daimler's shareholders will own stock in the new company, with Chrysler shareholders owning the balance.

Both car makers have pledged not to cut jobs or close plants.

The companies have said they expect to save $1.4bn next year without laying off any workers or closing any plants next year, although Mr Eaton said he thought the figure could be even higher.

They expect to save another $3 billion in 2000.

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30 Jul 98 | The Company File
Daimler roars ahead
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