October 29, 2009 / 10:15 AM / 8 years ago

Germany Inc on last legs as Deutsche exits Daimler

* Bank gets 110 mln euro Q3 gain from Daimler stake

* Held 0.9 pct in carmaker as of end-Q2

* Sale unwinds key part of cross-shareholding network

FRANKFURT, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) has sold its remaining stake in carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) in one of the final steps towards unwinding 'Germany Inc', a once powerful system of cross-shareholdings in Europe's largest economy.

The bank made a gain of 110 million euros ($163.2 million) from divesting the Daimler shares in the third quarter, it said on Thursday with the release of earnings. [ID:nLT114515]

Just 13 years ago, 60 of Germany's 100 biggest companies belonged to the shareholding network, set up as a tool to protect German companies from foreign takeover and provide support in the event of large-scale bankruptcies.

Deutsche, Germany's largest bank, had been at its centre along with insurer Allianz (ALVG.DE).

The bank, which has gradually reduced its Daimler stake over the past couple of years, had already sold its holdings in Allianz and industrial gases producer Linde (LING.DE).

As banks helped big industrial companies going public, they often ended up with some of the shares in their own portfolio, translating into board seats and guaranteeing the status of "most favoured bank" - otherwise referred to as the "Hausbank".

Through board seats on these companies, Deutsche Bank could force changes in corporate Germany while also looking after the country's interests, providing loans to large German corporations under favourable conditions if they helped Germany gain a competitive advantage in a particular industry.

In one infamous incident in 1987, Deutsche Bank Chief Alfred Herrhausen fired Daimler Benz chief Werner Breitschwerdt and installed Edzard Reuter in his place.

'Germany Inc' began to break down in the late 1990s when Deutsche took the decision to focus on its core banking business and began to unwind the stakes.

The sell-off was also fuelled by the introduction of the euro and new tax rules that allowed German firms to divest assets at favourable conditions.

($1=.6740 Euro)

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Eva Kuehnen; editing by Simon Jessop, John Stonestreet

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