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China fund in talks to buy Daimler stake: report

BEIJING -- China's sovereign wealth fund is in talks about possibly buying a stake in German luxury automaker Daimler AG, the country's main Communist Party newspaper reported.

China Investment Corp. (CIC) might buy 4 to 10 percent of Daimler, Peoples Daily said on its website, citing anonymous sources. It gave no other details.

Phone calls to CIC were not answered and Daimler declined to comment.

“Generally speaking, of course, we welcome any kind of new investor, but we're not commenting on media rumors,” said Daimler spokesman Florian Martens.

CIC was created in 2007 to invest a portion of China's foreign reserves. Its managers say their investments are purely commercial and have no political goals.

CIC limited its early investments to buying minority stakes in large companies to avoid arousing political opposition but has been making bigger direct investments. The fund has made direct investments in French oil and gas producer GDF Suez, Russian miner Polyus Gold, Australian toll road operator Horizon Roads and energy, shipping and other companies in South Africa, Canada, Vietnam and Brazil.

Last year, CIC bought 10 percent of the operator of London's Heathrow Airport. Its chairman has said the fund wants to expand investments in U.S. and European infrastructure.

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