Shareholder opposition grows to Skandia takeover

The fund giant Robur, which owns 2% of the shares in Skandia, has joined the list of shareholders who are opposed to the takeover bid by British-South African rival Old Mutual.

Three other funds, First AP fund, Second AP fund and Fourth AP fund have already given a clear ‘no’ to the bid. But Robur’s decision increases the shareholding of those opposed to the deal to 8%.

Even if the Skandia board was not united, this statement of opposition to Old Mutual’s bid was difficult for Robur, said Marianne Nilsson, head of owner management at the company:

“Now it becomes a hostile takeover, with all that means,” she told TT.

“We also think that the bid does not sufficiently value Skandia’s future possibilities. But we have simply said that we consider Skandia to be worth more than the 42 kronor [per share] that Old Mutual is offering.”

According to Marianne Nilsson, it is important to look at what kind of company will be created in an eventual merger between Skandia and Old Mutual:

“Where the companies overlap is limited. The synergies Old Mutual talks about could be taken forward by Skandia by itself. We believe that there is a good stand-alone alternative for Skandia.”

TT/The Local


Scania review board dissects Volkswagen bid

The independent committee looking at Volkswagen's take-over bid of Swedish truck giant Scania began its work on Tuesday, stating promises that headquarters would remain in Sweden were paramount.

Scania review board dissects Volkswagen bid
IF Metall Union representative Johan Järvklo sits on the independent review board. File: TT

Åsa Thunman was appointed chairwoman of the committee, which has invited financial consultants from Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley as well as legal advisors from Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling to assist them in their appraisal.

Thunman said in a statement that the committee would look at whether the $9.2 billion bid was in the best interest of Scania shareholders.

The effect on Swedish industry would also be considered, underlined committee board member Peter Wallenberg Jr.

"It has noted that Volkswagen does not foresee any significant changes with regards to Scania and that Scania’s headquarters and its development centres will remain where they are today," Wallenberg Jr. said. "These matters are of course of importance to the company and for Sweden.”

At the plant in Södertälje, employees have been busy discussing the bid. Assembly line worker Ahmed told The Local that his colleagues did not fear that production would be relocated to Germany.

"They couldn't possibly move all these machines and equipment," Ahmed, which is not his real name, told The Local on Tuesday. "But everyone on the floor has been discussing the offer."

Volkswagen tabled their $9.2 billion bid to swallow up Scania last Friday. It already owns 89 percent of Scania's voting rights and 62.6 percent of the company, with VW eager to secure the nearly 40 percent they do not own. The takeover has encountered resistance from two of Scania's minority owners, however. Both insurance outfit Skandia and pension fund AP4 have expressed reservations about selling up to Volkswagen.

“Scania’s prerequisites to maintain its leading position are better as a listed company than as a subsidiary in a larger group. Skandia doesn't intend to accept the offer," Caroline af Ugglas, head of equities at Skandia, told Bloomberg over the weekend.

Scania, which was founded in 1891 and has operations in more than 100 countries, boasts 38,600 employees. Around 16,000 work with sales and servicescross the company's subsidiaries, and over 12,000 work in production units. The company has headquarters in the Swedish town of Södertälje, where almost 6,000 employees work. The headquarters also hosts the research and development operations, with 3,300 employees.

"Changing owners won't make any difference to us in the near future," assembly line worker Ahmed said. "But we do wonder if the rules will change later on."