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)

((; +31 20 504 5017; Reuters Messaging:

($1=.7848 Euro) Keywords: TOMTOM

C Reuters 2009. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution ofReuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expresslyprohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuterssphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group ofcompanies around the world.nWEA8685