UPDATE 1-Daimler to increase Kamaz stake over 3-4 years

Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:18pm EDT

* German firm keen to grow minority stake

* Not interested in majority control in near term

* Has green light from Russian regulators (Adds Daimler comment, detail, shares)

STUTTGART, Germany/MOSCOW, March 19 (Reuters) - German truckmaker Daimler is keen to expand its minority stake in Russia's Kamaz gradually over the next four years and will not seek majority control in the short term, the head of its trucks division said on Monday.

The company, which owns 15 percent of Kamaz alongside the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has been given the green light by Russian regulators to increase its stake to at least a blocking level of 25 percent.

"Don't expect that we are interested in a majority stake in the short term. We will expand the 15 percent stake... over the next 3-4 years, depending on the economic development and the valuation of Kamaz," Daimler Trucks chief Andreas Renschler told reporters in Stuttgart.

Kamaz shares closed up 6.5 percent to 48.8 roubles, adding to a 30 percent rise in the year to date, valuing it at 34.5 billion roubles ($1.18 billion).

"Kamaz has an enormous need for new technology, so we need to sit down with them over time and consider ... what technology exactly fits. One of the biggest challenges for a manufacturer remains the supplier base, which is still underdeveloped in Russia," Renschler added.

Daimler has targeted emerging markets including Russia as the main driver of future growth.

The group has the right of refusal for a 10 percent stake from investment bank Troika Dialog, now part of biggest state lender Sberbank. The Russian Technologies state conglomerate is also a potential seller of part of its 49.9 percent stake.

($1 = 29.2075 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by John Bowker; Editing by Lidia Kelly)

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