FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler wants to sell its diesel motors unit MTU Friedrichshafen to an industrial buyer, the German-American carmaker said again on Friday, but it gave no schedule for any disposal.
A spokesman declined to name any prospective buyers other than truck maker and industrial group MAN AG, which has publicly expressed its interest in the maker of diesel motors for heavy vehicles, construction equipment, ships and locomotives. "We have confirmed that we want to sell it to strategic investors. We have said that we will hold talks with MAN, but I cannot say anything more about additional interested parties or a timeline," the spokesman said.
Andreas Renschler, the head of DaimlerChrysler's commercial vehicles division, told reporters in Berlin on Thursday that the group was holding talks with several potential buyers but it was under no time pressure to divest the business.
MAN has said it is interested in MTU Friedrichshafen, but not at the 1.5 billion-euro ($1.83 billion) price floated in the media. The business employs nearly 6,700 staff and had 2004 sales of 1.35 billion euros.
Germany's Handelsblatt paper said that MAN still had the inside track to win the deal. Citing financial sources, it said that the MTU Friedrichshafen founding families Maybach and Zeppelin preferred to see a sale to an industrial partner.
Although they have only around 12 percent of the unit, they have a right of veto in important issues such as a sale, it said, which knocks out potential financial investors such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
The newspaper also cited financial and company sources as saying German piston maker Mahle GmbH was interested in MTU Friedrichshafen, but added that Mahle had denied it. Mahle could not be reached for comment immediately.
Revenue from selling MTU Friedrichshafen could help DaimlerChrylser offset up to 1.2 billion euros in charges it will take this year to restructure its loss-making Smart minicar business.