Daimler seeks anti-trust clearance for Kamaz deal

STUTTGART/DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Daimler has sought approval from Germany’s anti-trust regulator to take a minority stake in Russian truckmaker Kamaz, the watchdog said on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Daimler, the world’s biggest truckmaker, described the move as a provisional step and said the company would decide by year’s end whether to take a Kamaz stake.

Daimler said in July it was in talks to buy a 42 percent stake in Kamaz as a way to boost sales in the fast-growing Russian market.

It also discussed building its own plant in Russia, Europe’s largest truck market with 2007 sales of 154,000 units weighing more than 6 tonnes. Kamaz is market leader there.

But Russian news agency Interfax last month quoted the chairman of Kamaz as saying Daimler was eyeing a smaller stake of 10 percent in Kamaz.

“Daimler was not satisfied with the price of $2 billion that we had been discussing. The crisis has hit them hard. Now Daimler wants a smaller stake,” Sergei Chemezov was quoted as saying at the time.

Reporting by Hendrik Sackmann and Matthias Inverardi, Writing by Michael Shields; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter