Volkswagen has held kick-off meeting for 2019 Traton IPO: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE has held an initial meeting to discuss plans for the flotation of its trucks unit Traton, set to be Germany's biggest of 2019, after hiring a quartet of banks to manage the potential 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) IPO, people close to the matter said.

Visitors stand at the booth of Volkswagen's truck unit Traton Group, former Volkswagen Truck & Bus AG, in Hanover, Germany September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

Roughly 80 bankers, lawyers and representatives of Volkswagen and Traton came together last week for a kick-off meeting to discuss strategy in marketing shares of the maker of trucks under the MAN, Scania and VW brands to potential investors, the people added.

JP Morgan JPM.N, Goldman Sachs GS.N, Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE and Citi C.N have been mandated as global coordinators of the listing, while law firms Freshfields and Linklaters are also helping to prepare the deal, they added.

Volkswagen, the banks and lawyers declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.

Europe’s leading carmaker wants Traton to be in shape by year-end for a potential stock market listing, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2019.

VW has plans to build a global trucks business by integrating its MAN and Scania divisions to challenge rivals Daimler DAIGn.DE and Volvo VOLVb.ST.

A flotation could also allow Volkswagen Truck & Bus to build a war chest to completely buy out Navistar NAV.N, a U.S. truck maker in which it already owns a 16.85 percent stake.

As precondition for the deal, Volkswagen on Thursday made corporate structure changes so two smaller units will not be part of the pure truck and bus company that will list.

VW's legacy trucks unit MAN SE MANG.DE will sell a 76 percent stake in gear maker Renk ZARG.F and its wholly owned maker of large engines - MAN Energy Solutions - to a subsidiary of VW, MAN SE said in a statement.

An agreement between VW and MAN will expire at the end of the year so the Wolfsburg-based auto maker would profit from any revaluation if the deals close before then.

Minority MAN SE shareholders will be offered a guaranteed dividend of 5.50 euros per share. VW has also offered to buy out minority MAN SE shareholders by March for 90.29 euros a share, which would cost VW about 3 billion euros if all shares are tendered.

While Traton Chief Executive Andreas Renschler has said he is targeting proceeds of up to 6 billion euros from selling about 25 percent of the company’s shares, Volkswagen may have to settle for a smaller number, people familiar with the IPO preparations said.

Volkswagen does not want to sell out on the cheap and may opt for a smaller offer size, similar to Siemens SIEGn.DE which opted to downsize its Healthineers IPO earlier this year on investor response to its views on valuation, they added.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by David Holmes