PARIS - French carmaker Renault (IW 1000/78) said Wednesday it had begun to sell off its remaining shares in Swedish truck manufacturer AB Volvo, which have a market value of around 1.5 billion euros (US$2 billion), to reduce the company's debt and raise funds for investment.

"After this transaction is completed, the Renault group will no longer hold any shares in AB Volvo," the carmaker said in a statement.

Renault gained the stake by selling its truck unit to AB Volvo (IW 1000/100) in 2001, sold part of its holding in 2010.

The carmaker said the shares would be sold via an accelerated book building process and as well as private placements.

Renault said the funds raised would used to reduce the company's debt and support planned investments in France as well as internationally, in particular in Russia and China.

The company plans to disclose the value of the funds raised from the sell off on Thursday.

Renault's debt has dropped steadily from 8 billion euros in 2008 to some 818 million euros at the end of the first half of 2012.

Volvo AB is the world's No. 2 truck maker behind Germany's Daimler, employing some 100,000 people at factories in 20 countries.

Last year Volvo AB posted a net profit 2 billion euros on sales of 34 billion euros.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012