PARIS (Reuters) -- Shares in Renault SA and Daimler AG rose on Tuesday, lifted by reports the two automakers are in talks about an equity tie-up as part of a possible longer-term partnership.
Asked about the reports, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is also head of its Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co., said only that he was open to equity exchanges.
"We are talking with many companies, many partners, but I don't want to make any comment on something that is absolutely not decided or something which has absolutely not been the object of any decisions," he said at a company event in India.
"I know there are many speculations on it ... there may be nothing coming out of it and then there is going to be disappointment, so let's keep it the way it is," he added.
Renault and Daimler, maker of Mercedes cars, have made no secret of being in talks about cooperating to cut costs, pool technology resources and build scale as the crisis-hit industry tries to become more efficient.
Asked if he would be open to equity alliances, Ghosn replied: "We are open to exchange of shares ... but exchange of shares is not an end by itself ... it is a way to solidify co-operation between partners."
Ghosn, speaking in Chennai, India, also said the Renault-Nissan alliance was talking to Indian vehicle maker Ashok Leyland about a passenger car project.
Sandford Bernstein analyst Max Warburton wrote in a report published on Monday he believed the carmakers were discussing a "much wider and formal level of co-operation across products and technologies."
"Sources report Ghosn is trying to persuade Zetsche to join the Renault-Nissan Alliance, via an equity investment or swap, while Zetsche would prefer a simple joint venture," he said.
Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche is reluctant to dive head first into a new pact after a rocky and costly adventure with Chrysler.
Societe Generale analyst Philippe Barrier thinks it unlikely Daimler would join the Renault-Nissan alliance: "It would not be particularly logical. Joining the alliance means organizing joint programs, making long-term plans together ... in my view it's not on the agenda."
Renault's shares were up 2.3 percent at the close on Tuesday, while Daimler was also up 2.3 percent.
The Financial Times said Tuesday both companies were in talks about taking equity stakes in each other to forge a long-term cooperation, citing two unnamed sources.
"Speculation could already be heard yesterday and is based on a research note from Sanford Bernstein. We don't think that everybody would like an equity tie ahead of a partnership," said a Frankfurt-based trader.
Daimler had no comment on Tuesday.
Earlier Bloomberg said, citing two unnamed sources, that the talks had stumbled on valuation issues -- just like talks between PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. a few weeks ago.
Car groups are on the hunt to cut costs by building scale and spreading the load of heavy investments in new technologies, such as hybrid and electric vehicles, over large numbers of cars.
Ghosn has often said that the alliance could be open to a third partner. Earlier this month at the Geneva auto show, Ghosn said the company was talking to many people in the industry.
"The name of the game is scale and co-investments and sharing technologies," he said. "You would be surprised at how many companies we are talking with for collaboration. I think it's not only Renault-Nissan, I think it's the whole industry."