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Continental AG wants takeovers, eyes Siemens VDO

From Reuters | April 25,2007

German tire maker and automotive supplier Continental AG reiterated its interest in Siemens AG's VDO automotive business today as part of a drive to step up acquisitions.

Continental aims to make its balance sheet more efficient in the years ahead, CEO Manfred Wennemer said in remarks prepared for delivery to the group's annual shareholders meeting.

"We want to do this primarily via suitable acquisitions, which as a consequence could result in significantly higher indebtedness," he said.

He said Continental was not prepared to make takeovers at any price, but was prepared to pay justified prices for appropriate targets.

Siemens has confirmed it has received expressions of interest in VDO, but has said its preferred option would be to float the unit via an initial public offering.

Wennemer reiterated that Continental expected higher 2007 revenue and operating profit and said organic growth would be around 5 percent this year.

Chairman Hubertus von Gruenberg also told shareholders the group's personnel director, Thomas Sattelberger, had asked to leave before his contract expires.

Sattelberger declined to comment on what his future plans entail. Media reports say he is moving to Deutsche Telekom to become head of personnel.

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