UPDATE 1-Sweden's Alecta rejects VW offer for Scania shares

Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:00am EDT

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STOCKHOLM, April 23 (Reuters) - Swedish pension firm Alecta said on Wednesday it had chosen not to accept Volkswagen's 200 per share offer for the outstanding stock in Scania, saying it did not reflect the long-term value of the truck maker.

The decision by Alecta, third biggest owner of Scania capital with a 2 percent stake as per March 31, and several other smaller owners to reject the offer fuels doubts whether VW will land the 90 percent acceptance it set to complete the bid.

"The decision has not been easy, but in a longer perspective it is our assessment that this is what most benefits the interests of our customers," Alecta said in a statement.

The acceptance period for Volkswagen's offer runs through April 25 but Scania shares have been trading well below the bid level in recent weeks amid growing uncertainty whether it will secure the sufficient backing.

Minority shareholders, primarily Swedish pension funds, have been split over the offer with several of the largest -- including Skandia, the AP4 fund, AMF and now Alecta -- lining up against it while others, such as Nordea Funds and GAMCO, have said they will accept it.

Separately, business daily Dagens Industri reported without disclosing its sources that Handelsbanken Fonder had opted to accept the offer while another pension fund, SEB Fonder, said it had also accepted. Both own stock worth about 1 percent of Scania capital.

The combined stake of the larger minority owners that have publicly come out against the offer - roughly at around 5 percent as per March 31 - remains below the 10 percent needed for the bid to fail.

Against this backdrop, the decision by pension fund Swedbank Robur, fourth biggest owner of Scania capital with a 1.9 percent stake, is likely to be key. It has yet to commit either for or against the bid.

Volkswagen has said it will not raise its bid. Together with MAN SE, which it also controls, it owns stock worth nearly 90 percent of votes but only about 60 percent of capital, leaving it needing the acceptance of owners of roughly a third of capital.

Scania shares closed at 183 crowns on Tuesday. (Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

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