BERLIN/MOSCOW, July 17 German carmaker Daimler
does not plan to increase its stake in Russian
truckmaker Kamaz, it said on Thursday, renouncing a
long-considered deal amid rising tension between Moscow and the
West over Ukraine.
Daimler controls 15 percent of Kamaz shares, including 11
percent it owns directly and 4 percent that the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development holds on its behalf. It has a
partnership agreement that would allow it to increase its
holding this year or next, but the talks have dragged because of
differences over price.
Business daily Vedomosti reported on Thursday that a new
shareholder agreement, expected to be signed this year, did not
reserve the exclusive right for Daimler to negotiate the
purchase of an additional stake.
The paper also quoted an unnamed Daimler representative as
saying that, after discussions about a possible stake increase
with its Russian partners, the German carmaker had come to the
conclusion that its share was "optimal".
"We have no plans to further increase our stake," a Daimler
spokesman told Reuters, adding that the company is continuing
talks about "cooperation within the Kamaz joint venture".
In addition to owning shares in Kamaz, Daimler has a joint
venture with the Russian truckmaker that produces Mercedez-Benz
trucks in Russia. Daimler also supplies engines and axles for
the Russian company's trucks and buses and the two have been in
talks about setting up local production of these parts.
The news coincides with the imposition of sanctions by the
United States and the European Union against Russian individuals
and companies after the country's annexation of Crimea and
failure to curb violence in Ukraine.
Russian state conglomerate Rostec is the biggest shareholder
in Kamaz with a 49.9 percent stake. A consortium of investors,
led by Ruben Vardanyan, owns 23.6 percent and had been in talks
with Daimler over the stake sale.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer in Berlin and Maria Kiselyova and
Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow; Editing by David Goodman)