Blog: Will Volkswagen get its MAN?
Glenn Brooks | 31 May 2011
It's looking more likely that Ferdinand Piëch's plan to gain full control of both Scania and MAN will come off. The chairman of VW's supervisory board, who is also MAN's chairman, must still tread carefully so as not to trigger European cartel-busting laws.
Today's offer to MAN shareholders will not be accepted as the price is way too low but German law means that making the bid is enough. Volkswagen is now free to buy more shares in the open market towards its goal of an eventual large minority holding. Any higher and the European Commission might block VW's ownership plans in light of its existing control of Scania.
I have learned to pay close attention to what the heavy commercial vehicle makers are up to: they are an often complex but also important part of our industry, especially with the rise of the larger players in China, India and Russia, all markets where enormous profits are presently being made.
Always worth keeping an eye on Class 8 truck sales in the US, too. If ever there was a long-lead indicator of the health of that country's economy, this is it. As early as the final quarter of 2006, freight operators were telling anyone who would listen that their business was falling off a cliff.
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Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...