Michelin pours cold water over Conti talk

PARIS (Reuters) - French tire group Michelin MICP.PA on Monday played down comments by its managing partner Michel Rollier over the weekend that seemed to indicate the firm could look at the tire business of Germany's Continental CONG.DE.

In an interview with Wirtschafswoche, Rollier was quoted as saying the company would consider such an opportunity with attention.

However, Rollier also said the likelihood of the event was very small. According to the full quote, Rollier was asked by the paper if Michelin would be interested in the tire business of Continental now that Schaeffler controls the firm.

“The opportunity has not presented it self until now and it would not be a surprise if the Continental tire business remains a core part of the Conti group,” Rollier said.

“If nevertheless the opportunity would arise, we would look at the matter with interest, even though our (market) positions in Europe and north America do not seem compatible with the current anti-trust legislation,” he said.

Michelin shares were down 3.6 percent at 47.3 euros at 4:00 a.m. EDT while the Dow Jones Stoxx automotive index was down 1.25 percent.

Reporting by Marcel Michelson