Independent Scania board members say VW bid too low
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Scania SCVb.ST board members responsible for assessing a bid by Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) for outstanding shares in the truckmaker said on Tuesday the offer was too low, and recommended that shareholders reject it.
The recommendation, by those members of the Scania board with no direct links to VW, marks a setback for the German automaker, which is trying to forge a closer-knit trucks group capable of taking on market leaders Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Volvo (VOLVb.ST).
Volkswagen last month attempted to draw a line under years of tense relations with minority shareholders in Scania with a buyout offer of 200 crowns per share.
The German carmaker, together with subsidiary MAN (MANG.DE), owns 62.6 percent of capital and 89.2 percent of votes in Scania. Scania board members with direct ties to VW were excluded from the committee that evaluated the bid.
The rejection by the committee is likely to fuel opposition to the bid, which has met with a mixed and mostly non-committal response from minority owners, primarily Swedish pension funds and other financial institutions.
Scania shares closed at 195.9 crowns in Stockholm on Monday.
The committee said in a statement the offer did not reflect the long-term prospects of Scania, its growth outlook, technological excellence and the potential for synergies.
"Scania is a world leader in its industry and the Committee has strong faith in the business plan set out by the company," said Asa Thunman, the committee's chairwoman.
The committee and company management also painted a modestly upbeat picture of the truckmaker's performance, saying Scania truck orders for the first two months of 2014 were in line with the same period last year and up compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by John Stonestreet)