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UPDATE 1-VW says still aims to keep Suzuki stake
October 17, 2011 / 11:51 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-VW says still aims to keep Suzuki stake

* VW says not making changes to holding in Suzuki

* VW says all discussions will be internal

* VW says won’t comment on any further speculation

* Suzuki says received no formal communication from VW

* Volkswagen shares down 0.4 percent (Adds Suzuki comment, share price)

FRANKFURT, Oct 17 (Reuters) - German auto maker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said it wanted to keep its stake in Suzuki Motor Corp after the Japanese car maker last week set an ultimatum that could mean the end of their troubled two-year-old alliance.

Suzuki and its biggest shareholder VW have been squabbling for months, and the Japanese car maker has asked VW for divorce.

Last week, it served VW with a notice of breach of contract, demanding the German company give it access to key technologies within weeks. Unless it does so, Suzuki’s biggest shareholder must sell back its stake and quit the alliance, it said on Friday.

“Volkswagen will not be making any changes to its shareholding in Suzuki Motor Corp,” VW said in a statement on Monday, remaining mum on Suzuki’s demands.

VW bought a 19.9 percent stake in the Japanese car maker in 2009 for about 1.7 billion euros ($2.4 billion).

“The discussion between both parties will be exclusively conducted internally. For that reason, Volkswagen will not comment on any further speculation,” it added.

A spokesman for Suzuki said the Japanese car maker had not received any formal communication from Volkswagen on the matter.

He declined to comment further on the VW release.

Shares of VW were down 0.4 percent at 113.80 euros by 1128 GMT. Suzuki stock earlier closed at 1,679 yen.

Suzuki has said it may consider other steps if VW ignores its proposal for a divorce.

Last month, Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki offered to buy the shares VW holds, and in return, promised to offload its 1.5 percent stake, worth $1 billion, in Volkswagen back to its estranged German partner.

Billed as a partnership of equals, the tie-up was meant to bolster VW’s presence in India for small cars and give Suzuki access to technology it could not afford to develop on its own but the partnership has so far failed to deliver any meaningful cooperation.

$1 = 0.721 Euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt and Abi Sekimitsu in Tokyo; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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