Scania boss compares German bid to Hitler’s tactics

The war of words surrounding Swedish truck maker Scania was stepped up on Wednesday, as the firm's chief executive Leif Östling likened a hostile takeover bid by Germany's MAN to Hitler's wartime tactics.

Speaking on TV8, Östling said that the Germans were experts of blitzkrieg but that in the long run they usually lost the war.

MAN has made a €10.2-billion bid for Scania, which has so far been rejected by the company’s main shareholders, Sweden’s Wallenberg family. But the affair has provoked bitter feelings in Sweden where, despite MAN’s assurances to the contrary, job losses are feared.

Leif Östling has resolutely opposed the deal, questioning the “social intelligence” of MAN boss Håkan Samuelsson in Dagens Nyheter, and suggesting that at “leadership levels” Germans show no respect for small countries like Sweden.

According to British paper the Financial Times, Östling likened his stance to that of Churchill in the Second World War, referring to the phrase “blood, sweat and tears”.

“That is somewhat what I’ve been saying to people here,” said Östling.