* Plans 2 bln euro share sale to refinance buyout
* Former Daimler executive named to head trucks alliance
* VW expects at least 650 mln euros of synergies
* Scania buyout to seal long-planned trucks alliance
* VW cautiously guides to higher 2014 EBIT
By Andreas Cremer
BERLIN, Feb 21 Volkswagen plans to
buy out minority shareholders of Swedish trucks division Scania
for 6.7 billion euros ($9.21 billion) as it aims to
jump-start a stalled eight-year effort to forge Europe's biggest
VW has spent billions of euros over more than a decade on
expanding stakes in Scania and its other trucks division MAN SE
to reap cost savings and take on Daimler, the world's
biggest truck maker.
"We are launching this takeover offer to remove restrictions
to a deeper cooperation between Scania and MAN," Finance Chief
Hans Dieter Poetsch said on a conference call.
VW said in a statement late on Friday it will sell preferred
shares for up to 2 billion euros, issue hybrid capital of up to
3 billion euros and draw another 2 billion euros from its ample
cash reserves of 16.9 billion euros.
Europe's biggest automotive group is struggling to replicate
its effective multi-brand management of passenger-car marques,
such as luxury flagship Audi and Czech division Skoda in its
truck operations, the success of which is important for a goal
of becoming world market leader by 2018.
Wolfsburg-based VW, which together with MAN already owns
62.6 percent of Scania's equity and 89.2 percent of the votes,
said it named ex-Daimler executive Andreas Renschler
to head up its trucks operations from Feb. 1, 2015.
Renschler, the former head of Daimler Trucks who
unexpectedly resigned last month as head of production at the
luxury Mercedes-Benz division, will replace VW's incumbent
trucks chief Leif Oestling.
Some executives at VW's Wolfsburg-based management were
frustrated with the lack of progress under the 68-year-old
Oestling, a former Scania CEO, whose three-year contract at VW
expires in 2015.
The German group has been pushing an alliance of its heavy
truck brands since first buying a stake in MAN in 2006, a move
that thwarted MAN's own attempt to take over Scania which VW
already partially owned.
VW gained full strategic and financial control of MAN in
2012 when it raised its voting stake to just over 75 percent.
Buying out Scania's minority shareholders will allow VW to push
for similar clout at the Swedish company which the German parent
aims to delist from the stock exchange once it has crossed the
"The cooperation between the companies and therefore the
degree of synergy realisation has remained limited because of
legal restrictions," Oestling said on the call. "This has been
impairing the speed, quality and scope of collaboration on a
The tender period will start on March 17 and end April 25,
VW said. The carmaker eyes additional synergies of at least 650
million euros per year from joint development and other steps,
adding it may take at least 10 years to achieve the full
The truckmakers have already said they will save a combined
200 million euros this year by pooling purchases of materials
including tyres, steel and glass.
Separately, VW toned down its guidance for 2014 operating
profit even after publishing record earnings of 11.7 billion
euros for 2013 which beat company expectations for flat profit.
VW remains cautious on the near-term outlook because
uncertainty in core European auto markets persists while demand
in some emerging markets will be hurt by monetary policy
measures there, Poetsch said during the call.
The 2014 operating margin could come in a range between 5.5
percent and 6.5 percent, after it was 5.9 percent last year, VW
said. EBIT may set a new record if economic conditions,
especially in Europe, improve more than expected, according to
"We believe there are a couple of reasons to remain on the
more cautious side," the CFO said. Four months ago, he flatly
held out higher EBIT for 2014 compared with the record result in
Still, VW said deliveries across the twelve-brand group may
grow "moderately" from last year's record 9.73 million autos,
which nudged VW narrowly ahead of General Motors into
second place behind global sales champion Toyota.