Daimler: No Cerberus Call Option or Share Buybacks

FRANKFURT, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Daimler (DAIGn.DE) is open to any third party interested in its 19.9 percent Chrysler stake and unlikely to buy back its shares in the medium term, the German carmaker’s finance director said.

“If an interesting offer were made to us, then we would not wait for our remaining stake to become valuable again. There is no right of first refusal for Cerberus,” Bodo Uebber told the Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Daimler said the company was currently negotiating only with the U.S. buyout firm [CBS.UL], “and with no one else”.

Uebber said share buybacks were not on the table. “In the next two years I hardly see this being an issue.” Uebber said Daimler had fully hedged its exposure to the dollar, pound and yen for 2009 and had already built a hedge of about 40 percent for next year. “We systematically use a rolling basis, but we deviate from this on the upside and downside in moderation if we see chances or recognise particular risks.”

The Daimler CFO also said production cuts in the first half should help reduce bloated inventories and bring in some 3-4 billion euros ($3.8-$5.1 billion) in cash currently tied up in working capital. (Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.7848 euro)