From the Telegraph 7th April 2016
Police in Germany were called to an annual shareholder meeting at Mercedes to defuse a fight over sausages.
It’s been a difficult few months for the German car industry, after the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal. But when Daimler, the company that makes Mercedes, held its annual general meeting in Berlin police can’t have imagined they would have to intervene at the buffet table. It appears trouble started when a woman shareholder noticed a man was helping himself to rather more sausages than she felt was reasonable. The man was allegedly wrapping the sausages up to take home, and when the woman told him to stop the disagreement quickly escalated into a fracas. “We had to call the police to resolve the matter,” Manfred Bischoff, the chairman of the Daimler board explained to shareholders.
He claimed the incident happened because the buffet featured Saitenwürschtle sausages, a Swabian speciality from Mercedes’ home in southern Germany, which are not generally available in Berlin. “Either we need more sausages, or we’ll have to drop them completely,” he said. Neither of the shareholders involved have been named. The woman has since filed a criminal complaint for slander. The claim the man was trying to take the sausages home with him led to jokes about the alleged stinginess of Swabians: Berliners traditionally regard their wealthier southern cousins as penny-pinching. Generous buffet lunches are an essential feature of any German company meeting. Daimler served 12,500 sausages to its 5,500 shareholders, according to a company spokesman.
The row overshadowed the announcement of Daimler’s highest ever dividend, a rare piece of good news for the German car industry. The company is paying out a total of €3.47bn (£2.8bn) to shareholders, at €3.25 (£2.62) a share.
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