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German Cartel Office Blocks Magna, Karmann Deal

FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- Germany's Cartel Office Wednesday blocked the takeover of auto parts supplier Wilhelm Karmann GmbH's convertible roof systems unit by Austrian-Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. (MGA) as previously indicated. "In an already highly concentrated market the combination of Magna and Karmann would have led to [a situation] where only two providers of convertible roof systems exist in Europe," Cartel Office president Andreas Mundt said in a statement. Following Webasto AG's takeover of Edscha AG's convertible roof systems unit last year, the German Cartel Office had indicated it wouldn't be happy with further takeovers in this sector. Karmann filed for bankruptcy protection April 8, 2009. Before filing for insolvency, Karmann produced roof systems for Daimler AG's (DAI) Mercedes-Benz brand, Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) and Renault SA (RNO.FR) among others. Volkswagen, which like Karmann is headquartered in the German state of Lower Saxony, bought land, machinery and equipment parts from the troubled firm in November 2009. "We know about the precarious situation of the company...but to our knowledge...there are several seriously interested bidders," Mundt said. Spanish auto component supplier CIE Automotive SA (CIE.MC) has repeatedly been named as a potential buyer. -By Christoph Rauwald, Dow Jones Newswires; +49 69 29 725 512;

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