Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest carmaker, increased its stake in MAN AG to 29.9% as part of an effort to combine the region's third-biggest truckmaker with Swedish competitor Scania AB.
Volkswagen AG raised the stake yesterday from an earlier holding of about 20%, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement. The carmaker, the largest shareholder in both Munich-based MAN and Soedertaelje, Sweden-based Scania AB, wants a three-way combination between the two commercial-vehicle manufacturers and its own Brazilian heavy-truck unit.
Volkswagen in January rejected MAN AG's hostile bid for Scania, saying it favored a „friendly” transaction. „This demonstrates they are still optimistic a union between Scania and MAN can occur,” said Michael Tyndall, an analyst with Nomura Securities in London with a „neutral” recommendation on Volkswagen shares. „The charm offensive has already begun.”
Shares of Volkswagen fell as much as 81 cents, or 0.9%, to €94.10 and were down 0.5% at €94.45 as of 12:43 p.m. in Frankfurt. MAN stock fell as much as €3.77, or 4.4%, to €82.01 and was down 1.1% at €84.85. „This is no surprise and was to be expected,” Wieland Schmitz, an MAN spokesman, said in a telephone interview from the truckmaker's Munich headquarters. „This means that we now have a major shareholder. We will speak with them about possible cooperation.” (Bloomberg)