MAN reportedly has said it was not in "negotiations" to buy MTU Friedrichshafen but was eyeing a potential acquisition of DaimlerChrysler's diesel motor unit.

"We're interested in principle and we'll look very closely at it," chief executive Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters on Thursday, adding: "There have been talks, but no negotiations."

According to Reuters, he also said he expects high steel prices to hit earnings in 2005, but Europe's third largest truck maker said it could compensate for the impact.

"We see a total effect of less than 1% of sales but we expect to be able to compensate for it," Samuelsson reportedly said.