March 6, 2018 / 1:18 PM / 8 months ago

Daimler CEO says Li Shufu partnership requires consensus from BAIC

FILE PHOTO: Daimler's Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche attends the Bosch Connected World Conference in Berlin, Germany, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

GENEVA (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on Tuesday welcomed Geely [GEELY.UL] Chairman Li Shufu as a new shareholder and said any industrial alliance will depend on whether current China partner BAIC (1958.HK) agrees.

“We would like to have consensus with our Chinese partner,” Zetsche said, referring to BAIC, the Chinese company with which Daimler operates the Beijing Benz factory in Beijing.

“We will examine everything if it is in keeping with the wishes of our partner,” Zetsche said, adding that Li had underlined his positive view of Daimler’s management and areas of potential cooperation.

“It was a very interesting discussion with a very successful entrepreneur,” Zetsche said, adding that prior discussions with Li had included three main areas.

“It was the relationship to Volvo, possible cooperation in China, and about a shareholding,” Zetsche told reporters in Geneva. “To the third topic, we said we welcome this. In this respect, he did what he had announced.”

“We did not believe he would start out with a 9.69 percent stake,” Zetsche said, adding Li had not asked for a seat on the supervisory board.

The Geely chairman’s move may spur BAIC into renewing efforts to take a stake in Daimler, Zetsche said, adding that this was a “speculative” assumption on his part.

BAIC has in the past said it planned to take a Daimler stake.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Christoph Steitz, editing by Louise Heavens

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