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Truck maker Daimler signs agreement to return to Iran

A emergency exit sign is pictured above a logo of German car manufacturer Daimler AG, before the annual news conference in Stuttgart February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler said on Monday it had signed letters of intent with Iran Khodro Diesel (IKD) and the Mammut Group, as part of the German truck maker's re-entry into the Iranian market.

The areas of cooperation include a joint venture for local production of Mercedes-Benz trucks and powertrain components, plus the establishment of a sales company for Mercedes-Benz trucks and components.

Furthermore, there are plans for Daimler to return as a shareholder in the former engine joint venture Iranian Diesel Engine Manufacturing Co. (IDEM).

Daimler Trucks intends to open a representative office in Tehran during the first quarter of 2016, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said.

The first Mercedes-Benz Actros and Axor trucks could be supplied to the country in the form of CKD (completely knocked down) kits - or fully disassembled - before the end of the year, Daimler said.

In addition to the plans for Mercedes-Benz trucks, Daimler Trucks also sees great opportunities for its Mitsubishi FUSO brand – especially in the light-duty truck segment.

To open up this market, Daimler and Mammut have signed a distribution agreement for the FUSO brand.

Daimler can build on a long and successful history in Iran: The company has been present in the market with Mercedes-Benz trucks and passenger cars since 1953, interrupted only by the sanctions phase between 2010 and 2016.

Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles are still present there and remain very visible on Iran's roads. Previously, Daimler sold up to 10,000 vehicles per year in Iran, most of them commercial vehicles.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Mark Potter)