MAN takes tax hit as Volkswagen looks to seal buyout
MUNICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German truck producer MAN (MANG.DE) said it may make a net loss this year after a surprisingly poor second quarter due to the tax fallout of its absorption by parent Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), a deal on which some shareholders are still holding out.
MAN earlier this month became a fully-controlled unit of VW - Europe's largest carmaker by car sales, revenue and market value - which is forging a global empire that runs from Ducati motorcycles through Golf hatchbacks to 16 tonne Scania SCVb.ST trucks.
The move requires Volkswagen to absorb all of the truckmaker's future profits and losses and meant MAN could no longer claim any of its tax-loss carry-forwards in Germany.
Its second-quarter net loss of 43 million euros ($57.0 million) attributable to shareholders was far worse as a result than analysts' average estimate of a 6 million euro loss.
"Everything else in the income statement was pretty much bang in line with expectations all the way down to the pretax level, so the miss came from a higher tax burden," said NordLB analyst Frank Schwope.
The tax writedown is the latest in a number of large one-off costs MAN has registered at a time when Volkswagen still has to persuade minority shareholders to accept its buyout offer.
The "domination" agreement giving Volkswagen full control of MAN was passed by shareholders in early June, but for now its shares are trading far above the 80.89 euros offer that the German car giant has made for the stock it does not hold.
Some analysts say MAN is in better underlying shape than this year's results show, making the case either for investors to hold out for a better offer or accept an alternative proposal from VW a fixed annual cash payment of 3.07 euros per share.
Volkswagen, which now holds just over 75 percent of MAN shares, had once been willing to pay 95 euros per voting share two years ago during a prior tender bid.
"The domination agreement should put both a floor and ceiling on the stock, so while capital gains for MAN shareholders are limited, the annual cash payout equates to 3.5 percent - attractive in the current low-rate environment," said NordLB's Schwope.
Volkswagen aims to merge the operations of MAN more closely with those of its other commercial truck unit, Scania of Sweden, and has appointed former Scania executives to key functions within the group, including ex-CEO Leif Ostling as VW's new top executive for commercial vehicles and Anders Nielsen as MAN's new European trucks chief.
Nielsen told a news conference that he expected MAN to benefit later this year from customers rushing to order the last Euro V trucks before a more stringent emissions norm takes effect in January, when trucks equipped with the expensive exhaust treatment technology are expected to cost around 10,000 euros more.
Still, MAN said a second half buoyed by higher demand in Europe might not be able to compensate for a first-half net loss after minorities of 383 million euros, even if it would be profitable on an operating level.
The company reaffirmed annual operating profit would decline significantly and, as signaled last month, doubled to 286 million euros its provisions for risks relating to power plants that its power engineering unit is building for French utility EDF (EDF.PA) in the Caribbean and Corsica.
None of that had much impact on the stock on Tuesday, however, MAN trading only 0.2 percent lower as of 1109 GMT compared to a half percent rise for the index of its European industrial peers .SXNP.
(Reporting by Irene Preisinger Writing by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Patrick Graham)
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