February 24, 2009 / 9:02 AM / 8 years ago

TomTom CEO has no regrets about Tele Atlas buy

* CEO says rationale for Tele Atlas buy still stands

* Sees 2009 gross margin in line with 2008

AMSTERDAM, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Dutch navigation device maker TomTom (TOM2.AS) has no regrets about the 2.9 billion euro ($3.7 billion) acquisition of digital map maker Tele Atlas, on which it wrote down 1 billion euros, its chief executive said.

"The rationale behind the acquisition still stands. We would like to have had a bit more time the implement our strategy, but it still stands," CEO Harold Goddijn told Reuters in an interview.

TomTom reported a 989 million euro ($1.3 billion) net loss on Tuesday, citing a writedown on its Tele Atlas acquisition, and said it was considering renegotiating terms of the debt that it had taken on to buy Tele Atlas. [nLN724339]

The maker of portable navigation devices for cars bought Tele Atlas last year after its main rival, U.S. market leader Garmin (GRMN.O), drove the price up in a bidding war.

"We had to pay what we had to pay for Tele Atlas," Goddijn said.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde)

((harro.tenwolde@thomsonreuters.com; +31 20 504 5017; Reuters Messaging: harro.tenwolde.reuters.com@reuters.net))

($1=.7848 Euro) Keywords: TOMTOM

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