Renault says no plan to sell truckmaker Volvo stake

PARIS (Reuters) -- French carmaker Renault today reiterated it had no plans to sell its shares in Sweden's Volvo because the stake was strategic and it was satisfied with the investment.

"We have always said that our stake in Volvo is a strategic investment and we have no intention to sell," a Renault spokeswoman said.

She was reacting to a market rumour Renault could sell the stake in the Swedish truck maker and use the proceeds to obtain a stake in DaimlerChrysler or to buy Chrysler.

The Dagens Nyheter newspaper on Friday quoted an investment fund called Industrivarden as saying it was ready to buy shares in Volvo if Renault wanted to sell.

Renault has a 20 percent stake in AB Volvo following a 2001 deal in which it transferred its truck activities Renault Vehicules Industriels to the Swedish truck and aero engine group.

Volvo has a market capitalization of $29.6 billion, while DaimlerChrysler has a stock market value of $62.2 billion at Thursday's closing prices.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive at Renault and alliance partner Nissan, has repeatedly said he was interested in a U.S. alliance after General Motors broke off preliminary talks.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe on Wednesday told the Nikkei business daily that the company was open to a broader partnership with Ford Motor Co.

With a 'no' from GM and with Ford looking elsewhere, some share dealers see Chrysler as a possible U.S. partner for Renault and Nissan.

An investment banker said Renault was unlikely to sell Volvo; "I doubt that they would sell the Volvo stake, but I could imagine that they do something with DCX on Chrysler and cement that by taking a small stake below 20 percent in DCX."

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