* VW now holds 55.9 percent of MAN voting rights
* VW was aiming for a 35-40 percent stake
* Outcome paves way for cooperation between MAN, Scania
* MAN shares fall 1.8 pct, VW gains 0.5 pct
(Adds market data)
FRANKFURT, July 4 (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) clinched a 55.9 percent stake in Munich-based truckmaker MAN SE , clearing the way for the carmaker to start building its European truck empire.
Volkswagen’s majority stake allows it to determine seats on the supervisory board, a way to accelerate cooperation between MAN and VW’s Swedish brand Scania SCVb.ST.
“Volkswagen is more than pleased with the result,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement on Monday. “As a result, our objective of realizing substantial synergies between MAN, Scania and Volkswagen in the interest of all shareholders, employees and customers is moving closer.”
VW’s influential Chairman Ferdinand Piech has been itching to create Europe’s biggest truckmaker to compete with rivals such as Volvo (VOLVb.ST) and Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and expand the reach of Volkswagen’s sphere.
Scania and MAN between them produced 172,000 trucks above six tonnes in weight last year, compared with Daimler’s 274,000 units, with the latter accounting for about 10 percent of global truck output, data from IHS Global Insight showed. With 171,000 units, Volvo accounted for 6.2 percent.
MAN, which loses its independence after 253 years in business, welcomed the fact that it now belongs to the VW family. A spokesman said: “The cooperation with Volkswagen and Scania now enters a new, offensive stage.”
Shares in MAN were among the strongest decliners in Germany’s blue chip DAX index , falling 1.8 percent to 93.581 euros by 1028 GMT, while VW shares edged up 0.49 percent.
The acceptance of VW’s offer was stronger than expected, said DZ Bank analyst Michael Punzet.
“We expect ongoing rumours of additional buying of MAN shares by VW and a possible domination agreement in the coming month despite the fact, that without the closing of the offer, it does not really make sense for VW to by additional MAN shares directly,” he added.
VW launched a low-ball bid valuing MAN at about 13.8 billion euros ($20.07 billion) in May, aiming to raise its stake in the truckmaker to 35-40 percent.
Sources told Reuters on Friday that Europe’s largest auto maker had clinched a majority stake in MAN. ($1=.6876 Euro) (Reporting by Edward Taylor, Eva Kuehnen and Andreas Kroener; Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Hans-Juergen Peters)