January 11, 2013 / 12:55 PM / 5 years ago

Daimler eyes stake in unit of China's BAIC - sources

FRANKFURT, Jan 11 (Reuters) - German luxury carmaker Daimler is eyeing an anchor investment in the passenger car unit of its Chinese partner BAIC Group, in a bid to overcome its weakness the world’s largest car market, three people close to the plans said.

“When BAIC Motor is floated, Daimler may take a stake of 10 to 20 percent,” one of the sources said on Friday, adding the size of the stake depended on discussions with its Chinese partner.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, declined to comment while BAIC, China’s fifth largest automaker, was not immediately available for comment.

The chairman of State-controlled BAIC, Xu Heyi, told Reuters in September that it aims to list its passenger car subsidiary BAIC Motor in 2013, hoping to raise around 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion).

Two sources close to the transaction said BAIC Motor is expected to be listed in Hong Kong this year, targeting a volume of at least $1 billion, while other sources cautioned that an initial public offering (IPO) may be delayed until next year.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been mandated to organise the listing, the sources said.

A BAIC investment may help Daimler to get its ailing China business back on track. While China has become Mercedes-Benz’s No. 3 market globally after Germany and the United States, Daimler’s luxury unit trails its rivals BMW and Audi in sales and has slipped deeper into global third place in the luxury market in 2012.

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