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SCANIA

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.

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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