Volkswagen increased its stake in Scania AB from 18.7% to 20.03% on 6 March. This represents 35.31% of the voting rights in Scania (previously 34%).

In a statement Volkswagen said; “The step underlines the importance Volkswagen attaches to its participation in Scania.

“The shareholdings in MAN and Scania aim to safeguard the strategic interest of the group in the commercial vehicles business and are adequate for finding a friendly and mutually agreeable solution to realise the acknowledged high synergies.

“In this context, Volkswagen also recently increased its stake in MAN to 29.9%.”

Volkswagen does not have to make a formal takeover for Scania, despite the increase in its stake, since it received special dispensation from the Swedish stock exchange on 24 February, allowing it to increase its stake to up to 49.99%, according to dpa-AFX news.

When asked whether Volkswagen would increase its stake to this level, a spokesperson said that VW considers its current shareholding to be sufficient.

MAN owns 14.8% of the voting rights in Scania, bringing the combined shareholding of the two companies to 50.11%.

Volkswagen is also trying to increase its influence at MAN. VW supervisory board chairman, Ferdinand Piech, is seeking election to the head of the supervisory board at MAN. He will be standing against current chairman Ekkehard Schulz, although there have been indications that Schulz will step aside, amidst reports that Piech has already obtained the support of workers representatives on the board.

A decision will made at MAN’s annual general meeting on 10 May. Head of Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles division, Stephan Schaller, has also been named as a board candidate.

Scania’s annual meeting takes place on 3 May. That is when new Volkswagen Group CEO, Martin Winterkorn, will take over from his predecessor Bernd Pischetsrieder as chairman of the supervisory board of Scania. VW CFO Hans Dieter Pötsch und purchasing director, Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, have also been nominated as board members.

Volkswagen appears to have the controlling hand in this game‚ ‘takeover poker’ as it has been termed in the German press. Rather than MAN acquiring Scania, or Scania acquiring MAN, or the two companies merging on an equal basis, they are both being taken over by Volkswagen Group, previously a marginal player in the global truck industry.