* CEO says review of cooperation to be carried out
* CEO says results to be delivered at May 2014 AGM
* Minority shareholders worry about lack of influence
SODERTALJE, Sweden, Sept 19 Swedish truckmaker
Scania will review joint projects with its main
owners, Volkswagen and MAN SE, to ensure benefits are
distributed fairly, it said on Thursday, in a bid to assuage
concerns among some minority investors that they are losing out.
Sweden's small shareholders association has sought to drum
up support for its call for Scania to appoint an independent
supervisor to ensure the interests of minority shareholders are
protected and that the three-way alliance benefits the company.
Minority shareholders, mainly Swedish pension funds, own
just under 40 percent of Scania stock, but control few votes.
Scania Chief Executive Martin Lundstedt said on Thursday
there was no need for an independent supervisor, as the group
would deliver a review of its various joint projects with
Germany's Volkswagen and MAN next year.
"Before any decision is taken on a project we are
identifying that synergies are equally distributed to all
shareholders of Scania," he told an audience that included
representatives of several minority stakeholders.
Auditors had also been tasked with scrutinizing cooperation,
Volkswagen (VW) is looking to forge a trucks group capable
of taking on market leaders Daimler and Volvo
To that end Scania, traditionally the most profitable of
Europe's truck makers, is exploring cooperation in areas such as
gear boxes and axles while stressing it is keeping ties at a
level where the companies remain independent.
"The important thing is that everyone that is a stakeholder
in Scania, it could be investors, employees or customers, feel
safe that we are developing this company in a good way,"
Lundstedt told journalists.
"What I can say as CEO is that we are working on these type
of projects very clearly and ... transparently, because we have
identified areas where synergies are possible and research areas
where cooperation would be very beneficial for Scania."
VW and MAN, which is controlled by VW, together hold large
stakes of voting-strong A shares in Scania under Sweden's dual
share system, giving them nearly 90 percent of votes in the
company with only just under 60 percent of capital.
This leaves the sizeable minority with little say, and their
lack of influence has been underscored as VW, in a break with
Swedish business custom, has left them without any real
representation on the board.
Still, while voicing displeasure, the pension funds have so
far not joined the campaign for outside scrutiny, a move which
would need support of owners of 10 percent of shares, something
hard to achieve without support of the funds.
Caroline af Ugglas, representing Skandia Liv which owns
about 0.4 percent of Scania stock, said the pension fund had
reviewed the option of seeking to force through the appointment
of an independent supervisor but had decided against it.
"That option of course still exists if they don't follow
through on the commitments they've made today," she added.
Sweden's small shareholders association was not immediately
available to comment on Lundstedt's remarks.
Scania also reported on Thursday that a pick-up in demand
for heavy-duty trucks had been gathering pace across Europe's
long-suffering market this year.
($1 = 6.4649 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Helena Soderpalm; Editing by