FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler is reviewing its 21 billion euro ($25.7 billion) property holdings for potential divestments, the German-American carmaker's head of corporate development said on Thursday.
In its annual report, the world's fifth-biggest carmaker valued its land, leasehold improvements and buildings at 20.99 billion euros at the end of 2004.
"Our whole real estate portfolio is under investigation. It is a little bit too early to say in which direction we would like to go," Ruediger Grube told a Deutsche Bank investment conference that was carried on the Internet. He was discussing potential adjustments to the group's structure after it sold its stake in aircraft leasing firm debis AirFinance to U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in April for an undisclosed sum.
Grube confirmed that its MTU-Friedrichshafen diesel motor business was also under review, but said the group would keep its 30.2 percent stake in aerospace group EADS for the medium term at least.
Grube also reiterated the group's forecast for slightly higher 2005 operating profit excluding up to 1.2 billion euros in charges to restructure its loss-making Smart minicar business.
The company still assumes car markets in western Europe, North America and Japan will be stable this year and that all the group's automotive divisions will post higher unit sales.
Grube saw a stable truck market in western Europe this year but further gains in North America.
At a time when the debt ratings of U.S. rivals General Motors and Ford have been cut to junk status, DaimlerChrysler would like to improve its debt rating. "We are striving for a better rating," he said.
The company's bonds suffered in the wake of the downgrades of GM and Ford, but have since rebounded. Analysts have said the company does not face the same pressures as the two biggest U.S. automakers.
DaimlerChrysler is rated A3 by Moody's Investors Service and BBB by Standard & Poor's, both with stable outlooks.