Zetsche says Daimler would 'welcome' Chinese investor

Zetsche said Daimler benefits if China is "interested in our fate."

BERLIN -- Daimler would welcome a Chinese investor after taking a stake in Beijing Automotive Group, though it has had no sign that this will happen, CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

"We would welcome Chinese investment, although we're not desperately looking for that, because it's better for us when China is interested in our fate," Zetsche said during a panel discussion in Berlin on Saturday.

"The reason is certainly not to look for more equity. We rather have the opposite problem of very high equity in our company," he added.

Daimler is seeking to revive operations in China, where the luxury automaker has fallen behind German rivals BMW and Volkswagen's Audi and fallen out with its dealers.

The Stuttgart-based manufacturer and Beijing Auto signed an agreement last week that will see Daimler take a 12 percent equity stake in BAIC Motor, which is the passenger-car unit of its Chinese joint-venture partner. Daimler also gets two seats on the BAIC Motor board.

Zetsche said on Saturday that a possible Chinese investor would need to buy shares in the market, adding that "no other transaction" would be involved.

"We don't know if that's going to happen," the CEO said.

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