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TRUCK

Strong earnings for Scania in 2007

Swedish truckmaker Scania announced on Wednesday robust earnings for the fourth quarter and full-year 2007 boosted by strong demand in most markets, and forecast a smooth ride for 2008 and 2009.

In the fourth quarter, net profit soared by 48 percent to 2.7 billion kronor ($419 million) while sales increased by 29 percent to 24.5 billion, the company said.

For the full-year, net profit rose by 44 percent to 8.55 billion kronor, while sales jumped by 19 percent to 84.48 billion from a year earlier.

Scania delivered a total of 75,878 trucks in 2007, a rise of 16 percent from 2006, and 22,005 in the fourth quarter alone.

Meanwhile, order bookings grew by 26 percent for the full-year but only two percent in the final quarter.

“The demand for Scania’s vehicles and services is high in most markets where Scania operates,” the group said in a statement.

While growth in orders had leveled off, “there are currently few signs that the recent credit market turmoil has affected our customers’ businesses,” the company said.

Scania raised its forecasts for 2008 and 2009. Until now it had predicted annual sales growth of 10 percent, but said it now expected growth of more than 10 percent. Operating margins were seen unchanged at between 12 and 15 percent.

Following the news, the Scania share price rose by 2.67 percent on the Stockholm stock exchange to 134.50 kronor, in an overall market that was down by 0.23 percent.

Scania has been the target of an unwanted takeover attempt by German conglomerate MAN, and has reacted by mulling its own counteroffer.

Volkswagen, which is the biggest shareholder in both companies, reportedly favors a three-way tie-up that would include VW’s Brazilian lorry activities.

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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