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DaimlerChrysler boss reveals sell off talks

Dr Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the board of mnagement of DaimlerChrysler, has confirmed for the first time that discussions have taken place with interested parties regarding future options for the Chrysler Group.

"In this context, I can confirm that we are talking with some of the potential partners who have shown a clear interest", Zetsche will say at the company’s annual meeting in Berlin today.

According to media reports, Blackstone and Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity groups, and the Canadian car group Magna International have emerged as front-runners to buy Chrysler.

However, Zetsche’s speech reveals: "But it is also true that we need to keep all options open, and that I cannot disclose any details, because we need to have the maximum scope for maneuver."

The company's management requires "the greatest possible flexibility so that we can identify and then professionally implement the best possible solution".

The basic requirement with all options is that the ‘recovery and transformation’ plan, presented in February, is consistently implemented, in order to bring Chrysler back to profitability.

Critical parts of the plan are: enhance DaimlerChrysler's financial strength in a sustainable way; make the Chrysler Group's business system competitive and profitable on a sustainable and find the best possible option for the employees.

"This means, that after reviewing all options, we will finally decide for the option that best meets our criteria", Zetsche will say. "So far, I am satisfied with the process. Everything is going according to plan."

He will also outline DaimlerChrysler’s commitment to sustainable transport: "For us at DaimlerChrysler, the emission-free automobile is and remains the long-term goal of our 'roadmap’. This will see focus on the improvement of combustion engines, with and without a hybrid option, alternative fuels and “emission-free driving, with the fuel cell as a long-term goal”.

Zetsche has called on politicians, the oil industry and carmakers to work together in order to create, for example, an appropriate legal framework, the necessary infrastructure, a hydrogen supply network, and the requisite automotive technology in order to address the many questions that remain unanswered with regard to fuel cell technology.

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