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MAN unsure of Scania tie-up in 2011-TV
MAN shares up 1.7 pct at top of DAX.
December 17, 2010 4:17 by Reuters
German truck maker MAN SE is sceptical that a tie-up with Swedish peer Scania will be feasible as early as next year, its finance chief said on Friday.
“The industrial logic (of a merger) is uncontested. A combination is imaginable. But I don’t know whether it will happen in 2011,” MAN finance chief Frank Lutz said according to a transcript of an interview with broadcaster DAF Deutsches Anleger Fernsehen.
Scania said last month the two companies were mulling a tie-up while maintaining their respective brands, in a move that would challenge truck industry leader Daimler and number two Volvo .
German weekly Der Spiegel had previously reported that Volkswagen came up with a new plan for closer ties between the two truck rivals, in both of which it holds large stakes.
The CFO also told DAF that the company, which has forcast sales growth of more than 20 percent this year, expected double-digit sales growth also next year.
“Growth rates will not be quite as high as in 2010,” Lutz added.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Munich on Friday, the MAN CFO also said that talks to end a gridlock with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund over who will carry the can for bribery committed at a former MAN subsidiary could well drag on into next year.
“We initially thought we could end it by year-end, but it will most likely take longer,” Frank Lutz said.
As part of a bribery investigation, German authorities in March took two individuals into custody and searched offices at Ferrostaal, a former MAN unit in which Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) now holds a majority stake.
Daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in October that MAN expected to assume some financial responsibility for the charges, citing sources at MAN.
Without specifying its sources, Sueddeutsche reported at the time that Ferrostaal was close to an agreement with authorities to pay nearly 200 million euros ($266.2 million) — comprising a fine as well as the full return of profits from contracts won through the bribes.
“We have been in negotiations with IPIC for the last six months or so. We had some ups, we had some downs, but contrary to what has been said in the press, our talks have never broken down,” CFO Lutz said on Friday.
(Reporting by Sakari Suoninen and Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Cowell)