Volkswagen could list its trucks business as part of expansion plans for the division, Andreas Renschler, head of the trucks business said on Monday.

"We want to achieve capital market readiness in the next 12 months. An IPO is just one of the options," Renschler told Reuters in Munich.

"You can also go to the capital market without (an IPO). You can refinance yourself by issuing a bond."

Last week, the unit's CFO had said taking over US commercial truck partner Navistar International would eventually make sense.

Reuters noted the division acquired a 16.9% stake in Navistar in 2016 to help broaden its international footprint and become a major force in the global trucks market.

"(Taking over Navistar) would make sense at some point," Matthias Gruendler said.

Earlier on Monday (16 April), Volkswagen Truck & Bus - in the news last week for its strategic alliance with Toyota's Hino and consequent announcement of 'capital market readiness' and future plans - said in a statement it "expects an overall stable development in new truck and bus registrations in its relevant markets over the coming years".

"Slight growth in NAFTA, the largest commercial vehicle market in the world, is contrasted by a slight decline in Europe. The Asian market outside China should grow more significantly overall. The South American market is expected benefit from a stronger recovery in Brazil. Thanks to its globally stable position, the company is able to balance phases of weaker growth in individual markets with positive developments in other regions," the company said following a press briefing in Munich which largely repeated last week's announcements.

"We are driving at high speed and the business climate for commercial vehicles in our core markets supports us in doing so. Volkswagen Truck & Bus has achieved a lot in short time and we have proven: we are stronger together. The cooperation between the brands strengthens our innovation power and creates notable synergies. This enables growth in the global competition and adds clear value for our customers," said CEO Andreas Renschler.

He claims bundling the brands (in 2015) was the right move as revenues have increased 16.8% and operating profit, before special items, by 61.5%. In 2017, the unit booked generated revenues up 12.1% to EUR23.9bn with pre-items operating profit up 26.8% to EUR1.7bn and an operating return on sales of 6.9%.

While MAN Truck & Bus and Scania were profitable, Volkswagen Caminhoes e Onibus in Brazil increased revenues by 32.5 % to EUR1.1bn but continued weak demand and strong competition led to a loss of EUR105m.

All three brands have variously named strategies in place to increase efficiency and this includes lead engineering: one brand is given project responsibility for the joint development of a component platform. Development of the common heavy-duty drive platform CBE-1 (Common Base Engine 1) will reduce investment cost by EUR200m and the new engine will be used in every second truck. This allows for material cost to be reduced by EUR90m a year.

A modular system for commercial vehicle powertrains will enable universal application as modules in buses and trucks.

Lead buying leads to further synergy effects with a joint procurement concept for the company's own commercial vehicle brands, including the volumes from global strategic partnerships.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus claims to be leader in its core markets: in Germany, its brands have a market share of 35%, close to one third in Europe and a strong 40% despite the losses in Brazil.

The partnership with Hino is the latest move in a so called Global Champion strategy which includes expansion into new markets - there is also Sinotruk in China while Navistar gives direct access to NAFTA, the largest commercial vehicle market in the world. Since establishing the strategic alliance in 2017, both companies have stepped up their cooperation in joint engine and drive technologies and, in procurement, have realised "significant synergies" via a joint venture within the first year.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus also is going to bundle its digital offerings in a new unit and he first brand under the new umbrella was RIO. Founded in 2016, the brand offers customers the opportunity to digitise their infrastructure. More than 360,000 connected trucks from MAN and Scania are driving on Europe's roads and, including the Navistar fleet, this will increase to 650,000.

"We want to be the global champion in our industry. On the next stage we'll speed up. That's why we started Next Level. This comprehensive project will accelerate the transformation of our company from its start-up phase of the past years to a true global champion and will quickly make it ready for the capital markets," said Renschler who has, however, reportedly denied a float is imminent.

Instead, it says its capital market capability will open up new financing opportunities for future investments, in order to sustainably strengthen its profitable growth.