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SCANIA

Scania unions reject MAN takeover

Trade unions representing staff at Swedish truckmaker Scania have rejected MAN AG's 475 kronor per share takeover offer, saying the deal would lead to Swedes being sacked instead of Germans.

Swedish trade unions pointed out yesterday that MAN’s workers have an agreement with their main trade union, IG Metall, protecting them from dismissal until 2012, whereas no such agreement exists in Sweden.

Top employee representative Kjell Wallin, who sits on Scania’s board, told the Financial Times: “If they have protection until 2012 and (the management has) to cut jobs to earn cost savings, where will they cut? Sweden. We are wide open.”

Wallin said up to 7,000 German jobs are protected and pointed out that MAN is committed to finding €500 million in cost savings from a merger.

The FT said Swedish unions enjoy considerable public backing when Swedish companies are threatened by foreign predators.

“We can get opinion behind us,” said Wallin.

The newspaper also said the matter could test the new Swedish government, which has pledged to make unemployment its number one priority.

Wallin told the FT that the merger would only get union support if there were “equal treatment of both Scania and MAN”.

Harald Flassbeck, the IG Metall representative on MAN’s board, said that “under no circumstances” would MAN give up its agreement with its German workers.

SCANIA

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.
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