UPDATE 1-Daimler stock rises on report Chinese wealth fund to buy stake

Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:41am EST

(Adds details, share price context, source saying report without merit)

FRANKFURT/BEIJING Jan 7 (Reuters) - Shares in Daimler AG rose to a nine-month high on Monday following a Chinese media report that the country's sovereign wealth fund was looking into buying a stake in the German maker of trucks and luxury cars.

The auto news channel of the online site of China's People's Daily newspaper said China Investment Corp, the country's investment vehicle, was interested in buying a stake of between 4 and 10 percent stake in Daimler.

The article cited no sources, saying only that the information "had been revealed". CIC declined to comment.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the report was without merit.

Daimler spokeswoman Silke Walters declined to comment on the report but said: "In general we always welcome any new investors as a balanced shareholder structure is in the interest of Daimler."

The shares were up 1.7 percent at 0908 GMT, making them one of the top three gainers in the DAX index of German blue chips which was down 0.4 percent. The stock rose as high as 43.64 euros, its highest since April.

Daimler lost Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Aabar as its largest investor last October when the emirate sold a remaining 3.07 percent stake in the Stuttgart-based auto maker worth about 1.25 billion euros.

The German manufacturer, which last year slipped further behind rivals BMW and Volkswagen's Audi in the global luxury car market, has promised 2 billion euros in cost-cuts at its Mercedes-Benz division by the end of 2014.

Last autumn Daimler warned it would miss its full-year operating profit target by 1 billion euros. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Jonathan Standing and Andreas Cremer; Editing by Noah Barkin and David Holmes)

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