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Sat 18 Jul 2009 07:17 PM

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Kuwait shows interest in Continental AG - magazine

Kuwaiti Investment Authority may be considering investing in German auto parts supplier.

The Kuwaiti Investment Authority (KIA) may be considering investing in German auto parts supplier Continental AG, German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported on Saturday.

In an article flagged "Continental: The auto parts supplier talks to the sovereign wealth fund of the emirate of Kuwait over possible investment", the magazine said "Kuwaiti investors" have been in contact with Chief Executive Karl-Thomas Neumann in the past few days.

The investors also held a meeting in Hanover with the premier of Continental's home state of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff, to discuss the political feasibility of a possible investment, the weekly said.

WirtschaftsWoche added that the KIA, which has a 6.9 percent stake in Daimler and is the carmaker's second biggest shareholder, is a welcome investor in Germany.

"Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah IV Bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, is viewed as a long-term and friendly investor among industry and financial circles," the magazine reported.

The German car parts maker and its controlling shareholder Schaeffler are struggling to each find a solution to their own 10 billion euro-plus mountain of debt. "Continental has maintained its contact to potential investors, holding successful roadshows with up to 300 participants with very positive feedback. There is still interest in Continental," a spokesman for the company said, declining to comment further when asked if the interest was from the KIA.

Separately, German weekly magazine Focus reported that Continental conserved some 100 million euros in cash through the end of the second quarter by delaying payments to its own suppliers.

Although they received their payments later including interest, some threatened to stop delivering supplies to Continental should the measure be repeated, Focus wrote.

The spokesman confirmed payments to suppliers were delayed, saying this was part of a bundle of measures including delaying payments to its own staff in order to manage its liquidity and meet its loan covenants at the end of the second quarter. (Reuters)

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