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05-06-2012 16:23:00

Volkswagen Lifts Stake In Truck Maker MAN Beyond 75%

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By Christoph Rauwald

FRANKFURT--Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) Tuesday tightened its grip on German truck maker and engineering firm MAN SE (MAN.XE) by lifting its voting stake above 75%, marking the next step towards forging a truck alliance with Sweden's Scania AB (SCV-A.SK) to take on global market leaders Daimler AG (DAI.XE) and Volvo AB (VOLV-B.SK).

"This marks a further important milestone for achieving our joint goals in the commercial vehicles business," Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.

Volkswagen said it will be "putting every effort into leveraging synergies and substantial growth potential" in the group's commercial vehicles business.

News of Volkswagen's increased stake in MAN follows the announcement of a wide-ranging management reshuffle at the automotive group including appointments at its truck-making activities. Leif Ostling, the chief executive of VW's Swedish truck brand, Scania AB, will join Volkswagen's management board and succeed Jochem Heizmann as truck chief. Mr. Heizmann will take on a new management-board post responsible for Volkswagen's Chinese operations.

The truck business has emerged as a second pillar for Europe's largest car maker after it acquired majority stakes in MAN and Scania in recent years.

Mr. Winterkorn said MAN will "retain its operational autonomy" while its power-engineering unit, which produces large diesel engines and other machinery, would remain "a solid part" of the Munich-based firm.

Under German stock market rules, investors have to disclose if they cross the 75% stake threshold. Volkswagen so far held a stake of just below 75% in MAN.

On Saturday, VW Chief Financial Officer Hans-Dieter Poetsch reiterated the company is keeping all options open for the future structure of its truck alliance. This includes a so-called domination agreement under German stock market rules, which would give VW access to all MAN cash flows. A domination agreement requires a 75% voting majority at shareholder meetings.

-Write to Christoph Rauwald at christoph.rauwald@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 05, 2012 10:23 ET (14:23 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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