Daimler moves on larger Kamaz stake

Russian truck maker Kamaz says Daimler will take a controlling stake in the company. But the German automaker is expected to push first for a better price.

Kamaz will see a 40% decline in full year sales, with demand plummeting in the crisis. But the truckmaker says it will be back in top gear in 2010. It's planning a new range of competitive models and will invest almost $650 million over the next three years. Kamaz Chief Sergey Chemezov hopes the government will help with finance.

“Most likely we will have to use loans. We need approximately 4,5 billion dollars to create a modern car. But obviously it will be difficult to attract such a sum through loans, because of high interest rates. Therefore we will ask the government for preferential loans.”

Kamaz wants to take a 50% grip on the domestic market and 20% of its sales overseas within a few years. A partnership with Germany's Daimler may help. Russian Technologies had expected Daimler to lift its stake in Kamaz by another 15%, and even take control. For now, however, the German company will buy only another 5 or 6 % according to Sergey Skvortsov, Managing Director of Troika Dialog Group.

“We are still in talks with talks with Daimler over the purchase of both the 15% and the 5% stake. But the price suitable for us doesn’t fit Daimler. For now Daimler is ready to buy only the minimal stake.”

Currently Daimler owns 10% in the Russian company. However, Kamaz' shareholders say the option to buy a controlling stake remains open and hope that Daimler will buy the truckmaker by 2018.