EU anti-trust officials approve MAN bid for Scania

20th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2006, Brussels (dpa) - After a six-week review, the European Commission clears the way for the German engineering group'd bid to take over Swedish rival Scania.

20 December 2006

Brussels (dpa) - After a six-week review, the European Commission clears the way for the German engineering group'd bid to take over Swedish rival Scania.

MAN, which is already one of Scania's main shareholders, this month extended its takeover offer for the Swedish group from December 11 until January 31 next year.

This follows a decision by the EU monopoly officials to delay their competition ruling from early December until December 20.

The Scania board and the company's key Swedish shareholders have firmly rejected the MAN offer saying it undervalued Scania.

However, complicating the increasingly rancorous takeover battle has been signs that Scania's biggest shareholder, German-based carmaker Volkswagen AG has been weighing up whether to try to orchestrate a three-way merger between MAN, Scania and VW's truck operations.

But VW, which is also Europe's biggest automaker, has said that no concrete plan for a three-way merger existed. With a 34-per-cent stake, VW is also MAN's largest shareholder.

For the moment, Volkswagen insists that it keeping open its options in the increasingly rancorous takeover battle for Scania.

"In the case of an apparent failure of the bid, Volkswagen will keep all alternative possibilities open," the VW board said at the end of a meeting last month.

As sign of the tensions unleashed by the MAN takeover move, Scania chief Leif Ostling at one point this month lashed out at MAN comparing the bid to a "blitzkrieg," a reference to the German World War II military tactics. He later issued an apology for the remarks.

But Ostling also remained confident that Scania would be able to see off the MAN bid and has not rules out launching a counter-bid for MAN.

With opposition to the MAN bid growing in Sweden, Volkswagen has also been urged by an association of Scania's Swedish retailers not sell its stake in Scania.

The MAN has also lead to stiff opposition from Swedish unions, who have opened up talks with their counterparts in Germany over the bid.

Following MAN's move to extend the deadline for the takeover offer until January, Scania said that it was bringing forward the publication date of its 2006 earnings report from February 8 until the end of January.

Copyright DPA

Subject: German news

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