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Fri 10 Apr 2009 04:47 PM

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Abu Dhabi fund denies new move on Daimler, Opel

Gov't linked investment fund Aabar says it does not plan to buy further stakes in car makers.

Abu Dhabi's government-linked investment fund Aabar does not plan to buy either further shares in Daimler or a stake in Opel, a spokesman for Aabar said.

Asked about a report on Friday that Aabar was raising its stake in Daimler, the spokesman said: "We are not."

Germany's Focus magazine said Abu Dhabi was in talks to raise its Daimler stake from 9.1 percent now to more than 20 percent.

It also said Aabar had no plans to invest in Opel, brushing off speculation the fund could make a white-knight appearance.

Earlier in the week the Aabar spokesman had already denied reports that the investment fund planned to take a stake in Opel, which is frantically seeking an investor.

General Motors' German unit Opel has said it needs 3.3 billion euros ($4.38 billion) in state aid from European governments to save jobs and keep plants open.

But it also said it needs an outside investor to push through its restructuring plan, and so far no one has publicly declared interest in Opel.

The ailing carmaker's rescue has become a political hot potato ahead of German elections in September as pressure mounts to help Opel, which traces its roots to the 19th century and was once a symbol of the country's post-war recovery.

On Monday, Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had said he could not rule out talks with the emirate over Opel, but he later rejected reports there were concrete plans to travel to Abu Dhabi next week to talk to potential investors.

A German labour leader at the cash-strapped carmaker has confirmed the government of German state of North Rhine-Westphalia held talks with Abu Dhabi about Opel last week, but without naming the possible investors there.

Last month, Abu Dhabi's state-controlled International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) bought a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler for almost 2 billion euros.

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