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AP funds accept Scania takeover deal previously rejected by AP4

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Two of Sweden’s buffer funds have accepted Volkswagen’s controversial bid for local heavy vehicles manufacturer Scania, weeks after AP4 rejected the SEK200 (€22.30) a share offer.

A spokeswoman for AP2 said it had carefully evaluated the bid, which was “attractive” to the buffer fund.

Asked how the fund had come to a different conclusion than AP4, the spokeswoman said she could not comment on the other fund’s assessment of the deal.

“We have done our analysis, and they have done theirs,” she said.

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AP3, meanwhile, said it viewed the offer as “fair” but indicated it did not consider the alternative – maintaining a position as a minority shareholder – as sustainable. 

Peter Lundqvist, the fund’s head of corporate governance, said the last couple of years as a minority shareholder in Scania had not been easy.

“There has been a lack of information regarding potential synergies from the collaboration between Scania and MAN, last year VW abolished the nomination committee, and they have also decided to reduce dividends for 2013 without any justification,” he told IPE.

“When you invite your partner to dance, it’s difficult when she refuses to step out on the dance floor.”

AP2 currently owns 0.2% of stock, while AP3’s shareholding accounts for 0.32% of the firm’s share capital.

Due to the use of the Swedish A and B share system, the funds jointly account for just 0.1% of voting rights.

Requests for comment from AP1, which, according to local media reports, has sold its stake in Scania since the end of 2013, went unanswered at the time of publication.

Volkswagen, which owns more than 60% of shares and controls 88% of voting rights at the company, has previously seen its bid for Scania rejected by the company’s independent committee, resulting in several institutional investors, including pension provider AMF, rejecting the bid.

AP4 cited the independent committee’s discomfort with the bid when it rejected the offer.

At the time, it said: “Our belief is that the Swedish senior citizens who are the main principals of AP4 in the long term will benefit if Scania remains as an independent listed company.”

AMF’s Anders Oscarsson, who heads up corporate governance at the provider, previously said its concerns over VW’s offer stemmed from its ownership of rival truck manufacturer MAN Group.

“Scania is in fantastic shape, and MAN is not, and Scania has done some excellent R&D,” he said. “So the question is, could there be some transition out of the company?”

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