Scania plans savings programme

Unions have expressed their concern at the news that the bus and truck company Scania is preparing for a "substantial" package of savings in Sweden.

Scania has decided to overhaul its production structure, which operates primarily out of Södertälje, Falun and Sibbhult. Around 1,800 people are currently employed in the production process.

“Continued streamlining of production is a precondition for keeping jobs in Sweden,” wrote managing director Leif Östling in a press release. He also talked of making “substantial cost savings”.

Scania’s head of information was vague about specific figures, however.

“It’s too early to comment on whether we’re talking about hundreds of millions or billions,” said Gunnar Boman.

It is also too early to say whether the cuts will mean fewer employees or a reduction in the number of production units, but Boman said that certain operations could be moved to different locations.

The assessment of what is required will be complete some time during the first quarter of 2006, and a reorganisation of production could be put into practice within 2-3 years.

The announcement is already causing concern among employees.

“Personally I’m a bit nervous, to say the least,” said Torbjörn Pedersén, the chairman of the Metall union chapter in Falun, where 650 people are employed by Scania.

He said it is hard to see how operations will be moved between towns, pointing out that skilled labourers will not simply move. He also noted that there has been a great deal of investment in the systems in Falun recently.

“And the investment is continuing, as far as I know,” he said.

Pedersén described the operations in Falun as “very profitable”, but acknowledged that there was no guarantee that any part of the company would escape the cuts.

TT/The Local


Volkswagen gets shares to take over Scania

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, was set to take full control of Swedish truck manufacturer Scania on Tuesday after a small but crucial shareholder agreed to sell its shares.

Volkswagen gets shares to take over Scania
Swedish pension fund Alecta previously held out for a higher share price but agreed to sell its 2.04-percent stake in Scania, paving the way for Volkswagen to acquire full control the company.
On April 30, the German car giant said it lacked less than two percent more shares to reach its 90 percent goal, and thereby force the sale of the remaining shares.
"After new discussions with Volkswagen we have concluded that there will be no increase in their offer," Alecta said in a statement, referring to Volkswagen's refusal to pay more than 200 kronor ($30.5) per share.
In February, Volkswagen offered €6.7 billion ($9.3 billion) to acquire the nearly 40 percent of Scania it did not already own and to strengthen its position against its German competitors Daimler and the Swedish truck maker Volvo.
Scania's board of directors recommended shareholders not to part with shares at the price offered.
The offer expired on April 25th. However, confident that shareholders could be won over, Volkswagen extended its offer to May 16.
The German auto giant already owns truck and bus-maker MAN and bought into Scania in 2000.
It had previously said that it could make annual savings of €650 million through economies of scale by taking full control of the Swedish company.
The takeover is just the latest to hit Sweden's beleaguered vehicle manufacturing sector which has seen Chinese takeovers of the once iconic car brands Saab and Volvo.
Volvo Trucks announced more than 4,000 job cuts over the last six months and a voluntary redundancy scheme aimed to cut costs and increase profitability.