Daimler aims to raise Kamaz stake, Russia says talks stalled

FRANKFURT/MOSCOW, March 11 Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:30pm EDT

FRANKFURT/MOSCOW, March 11 (Reuters) - German truckmaker Daimler said on Monday it aimed to raise its stake in Russian peer Kamaz, after Kamaz's Russian shareholder said talks had stalled over price.

Daimler, which owns 11 percent of Kamaz directly, has a partnership agreement that would allow it to increase its holding either this year or next, or in 2015, according to trucks chief Andreas Renschler.

"Generally speaking, we intend to raise our share in Kamaz," a spokesman for Daimler Trucks said.

He cited an interview published late in January in a German newspaper, in which Renschler was quoted as saying the "clear goal" was to acquire the majority.

Sergei Chemezov, the head of Kamaz's biggest shareholder, state conglomerate Rostec, told Reuters earlier this month in an interview that negotiations aimed at giving Daimler a bigger stake had been suspended due to differences over price.

"We cannot determine the price. We believe that Kamaz is worth more than it is being valued by Daimler," he said.

Daimler Trucks, which will hold its annual news conference on Wednesday, declined to comment on Chemezov's remarks on Monday.

Daimler, which overall holds a combined 15 percent of Kamaz alongside the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has been in talks to buy a further stake from Sberbank-CIB, the investment arm of state lender Sberbank .

The German group has right of refusal on a 10 percent stake held by Sberbank-CIB, and Russian regulators have cleared the German firm to increase its stake to at least a blocking level of 25 percent.

Rostec is currently not a seller of its 49.9 percent stake, according to Chemezov, who cited the strategic importance of the company, which supplies the Russian army.

In March 2012, Daimler said it planned to expand its stake over the next 3-4 years, depending on economic developments and the valuation of Kamaz┼ż, but was not seeking majority control. (Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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