The China Investment Corp. fund may acquire a stake at Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, according to a report posted on China's state-run People’s Daily website.
The report, which was absent from the print edition of the Chinese news agency, cited an unidentified Internet posting claiming that the fund was interested in acquiring a holding between 4 and 10 percent in Daimler.
This resulted in the Stuttgart-based company’s share price rising by as much as 2.4 percent, to €43.64, in Frankfurt’s stock market on Monday, the highest since April 4, 2012.
Daimler spokesperson Silke Walters told Bloomberg News, “we don’t comment on media speculation”. She added, though, “in general, we always welcome any new investors as a balanced shareholder structure is in the interest of Daimler.”
Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has said in the past that he would welcome a Chinese investor. He has also set a target of making the three-pointed star the world’s number one luxury carmaker by 2020, a title it has lost to BMW for the past seven years.
In 2012, Mercedes’ sales in China increased by 6.7 percent compared to more than 30 percent for rivals BMW and Audi. This has prompted a rethink in the company’s structure in the country, merging the locally and imported cars’ operations into one entity.
By Andrew Tsaousis