VW Wants MAN, Scania To Cooperate

Volkswagen's supervisory board chief says he wants truck builders MAN and Scania -- which both count VW as their biggest shareholder -- to cooperate.

FRANKFURT (AP) -- Volkswagen AG's supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech said Thursday he wants truck builders MAN SE and Scania ABĀ -- which both count VW as their biggest shareholder -- to cooperate.

Piech, who spoke at MAN's annual general meeting Thursday, is also supervisory board chairman of MAN, based in Munich. Scania is headquartered in Sodertalje, Sweden.

Piech said the companies all agreed on the principle and were moving in the right direction. He said he was convinced MAN and Scania would be able to form closer bonds.

Speculation has circled for years that the two companies would merge or establish a partnership, while any cooperation would help both MAN and Scania become more competitive.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automotive group and based in Wolfsburg, expects synergies of between euro500 million and euro1 billion ($675 million and $1.35 billion) could be created through a tie up.

Volkswagen currently holds 29 percent of MAN shares and 46 percent of Scania shares. MAN holds a further 13.4 percent of Scania's stock.

In 2009 truckmakers around the world saw their sales decline sharply from the economic downturn. Still, in 2009, Scania delivered 43,443 trucks and buses, while MAN sold nearly 83,000 trucks and buses.

For comparison, the world's biggest truckmaker, Germany's Daimler AG, sold almost 260,000 trucks and buses in 2009. Daimler's brands include Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Mitsubishi-Fuso.

Shares of Volkswagen were up about a third of a percent at euro71.71, while MAN's were up more than half a percent at euro62.30. Scania shares were down 1.1 percent to euro11.44 in late Frankfurt trading.

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