Debt-laded Continental AG, a German auto supplier controlled by Schaeffler, wants to keep its portfolio structure in the current from, new chief executive Elmar Degenhart was quoted on Saturday as saying.

On the basis of the management board's preference, we would keep our portfolio the way it is today, Degenhart told industry publication Automobilwoche, adding that this would include the company's tyre business as well as ContiTech, its non-tyre rubber business.

Continental previously said it was examining whether a sale of assets -- mainly tyre activities bundled in the Rubber Group -- would be the best way to pay off part of its debt.

Degenhart added, however, that the company would have to work intensively on its refinancing, adding that he was optimistic that there were no tasks that could not be handled after four weeks in the job.

We think that our business in 2010 will be above the level of 2009. However, there is no guarantee, he said, adding that he would keep open the option of reduced working hours or lay-offs due to the current economic climate.

Degenhart, a former head of Schaeffler's automotive operations, replaced Karl-Thomas Neumann as head of Conti in August, following a power struggle between Schaeffler and Continental that came to a peak in July.

Conti was already heavily in debt following its acquisition of VDO in 2007 before supplier Schaeffler then made a hostile bid for Conti in July 2008.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by David Stamp)