Centre Franco-Russe d’Intelligence Economique et Stratégique

05 avril 2008

Daimler mulls truckmaker buy, eyes Russia-magazine

FRANKFURT, April 5 (Reuters) - German automaker Daimler  is considering buying a truckmaker and sees Russia as an attractive country in which to be active, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told WirtschaftsWoche magazine in an interview.

"I could totally imagine it in the trucks business, although in some markets we are already so big that there would be cartel barriers and also it wouldn't make sense any more," he said in the interview published on Saturday.

"In trucks, we are in particular looking at possibilities to be active in Russia," Zetsche said.

Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars is also the world's biggest truckmaker.

Kamaz Russia's largest truckmaker, may sell a quarter of its shares for $1.25 billion this year to a strategic investor from the European auto sector, sources familiar with KAMAZ's plans told Reuters this week.

German truckmaker MAN , which is pursuing a three-way truckmaking alliance with Volkswagen  and Scania , said this week it did not plan to buy the Kamaz stake.

Fiat's truckmaking unit Iveco, which plans its own joint venture in Russia, is also being discussed in the industry as a takeover target, the magazine said.

In its cars business, Zetsche said he saw acquisitions as unlikely for Daimler, which plans to expand its production capacities into eastern Europe to accommodate at least four new models based on the new A and B-class Mercedes.

He said Daimler was likely to decide this quarter on exactly where to build the factory, as its plant in the German city of Rastatt, which currently builds 270,000 cars per year, will not be able to cope with the planned volume for the new models.

Rainer Schmueckle, head of Mercedes production, told the magazine: "For a new plant to be worthwhile, we must produce cars there at least in the high double-digit thousands."

"It becomes particularly advantageous when you cross the 100,000 mark," he said.

The magazine said that talk internally at the company was of raising production to as many as 400,000 units per year from 270,000 currently.

Daimler is the only major automaker not to have its own plant in eastern Europe, where labour costs are relatively cheap and demand is growing. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by James Jukwey) 

Posté par CFRIES à 21:43 - Fusion & Acquisition - Permalien [#]