July 12, 2018 / 8:47 AM / a year ago

BMW says developing joint venture with China's Brilliance

FILE PHOTO: The BMW logo is seen on a vehicle at the New York Auto Show in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) said it was developing its joint venture with China’s Brilliance (1114.HK) but did not confirm reports it would raise its stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA).

“We cannot comment in detail on the state of our ongoing discussions with our partner Brilliance at this point in time,” BMW said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

German business magazine Manager Magazin said BMW was to increase its stake in BBA to at least 75 percent from 50 percent. Bloomberg News reported a new ownership structure was to be unveiled soon, citing a person familiar with the plan.

The news comes two weeks after China unveiled a long-anticipated easing of foreign investment curbs on the automotive industry and other sectors, as Beijing moves to fulfil its promise to open its markets further.

Foreign ownership limits for passenger car manufacturing will be removed by 2022.

Manager Magazin said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger and Brilliance Chairman Yumin Qi had agreed on the stake hike by BMW during a visit by Premier Li Keqiang to Germany this week.

BMW had announced on Monday and Tuesday a raft of agreements with Chinese partners, including a production capacity increase at BBA, but had not mentioned any plans to increase its holding in the venture.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Edmund Blair

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