Magna confirms 'interest' in Chrysler

Feb. 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM
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AURORA, Ontario, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The world's No. 3 auto parts maker is watching Chrysler and thinks a merger with the U.S. automaker might make sense, its chief financial officer said.

But Vince Galifi of Magna International Inc. would not say if his company was mulling a deal with Chrysler parent DaimlerChrysler AG.

"Without commenting specifically on Chrysler, the world is changing and I think everybody needs to look at more competitive ways to do business," Galifi told the Toronto Star.

Toyota Motor Corp. owns parts of several of its major suppliers and the partners work together on product development, he said.

The new business realities have "opened discussion on a lot of topics, including Chrysler," he said, adding his Aurora, Ontario, company was following its biggest customer "with interest."

Magna canceled half its quarterly dividend Tuesday, adding $84 million to its $1.9 billion cash balance.

This fueled speculation Magna may be preparing a bid for Chrysler, Wachovia Securities Inc. analyst Richard Kwas in Baltimore said in an investors note.

Magna Chairman Frank Stronach recently met with DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche and presidents of the United Auto Workers and Canadian Auto Workers unions, the newspaper said.

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