Suzuki chairman not sure when court will rule on VW dispute

Osamu Suzuki, left, and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn sealed their alliance with a handshake in 2009. Suzuki later filed for a divorce.
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TOKYO (Reuters) -- Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki said it was unclear when an international arbitration court will rule on its 2-1/2 year dispute with Volkswagen Group over their failed partnership.

Suzuki filed for international arbitration in November 2011, after Volkswagen refused to sell back a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki it acquired in January 2010 for 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion).

Earlier this month, sources said a London-based arbitration court had wrapped up witness hearings and was expected to issue a ruling before the end of the year.

"It's unclear," the 84-year-old chief executive told reporters in Tokyo when asked about the likely timing of a ruling. Pressed on whether the two companies could reach a settlement, he said repeatedly: "We are the ones that took this to court."

The two automakers agreed on a tie-up in December 2009, vowing to work together on technologies in areas such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and on expanding in emerging markets.

Suzuki later accused VW of withholding hybrid technology it had promised to share and demanded the return of the 19.9 percent stake. Volkswagen, for its part, complained about Suzuki's purchase of diesel engines from Fiat.

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