News reports out of Germany indicate that Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH is open to taking over Navistar International Corp. VW already holds a 16.9% share in the U.S. company via a “wide-ranging strategic alliance," which was announced back in 2016.
Such a move would reflect Germany-based Volkswagen AG’s aim to grow its truck unit’s presence globally and to access capital markets.
On April 12, VW Truck & Bus announced a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Toyota’s Hino Motors truck unit in another move calculated to help it compete with the other top global truck makers, Germany’s Daimler and Sweden’s Volvo.
VW is planning to restructure its truck operation, which includes the Scania and MAN brands, into a public limited company as a step toward a potential stock market listing, according to a Reuters report.
Acquiring a majority stake in truck and bus maker Navistar would “make sense at some point,” Matthias Gruendler, CFO of Volkswagen AG’s global truck and bus subsidiary, said at an April 16 press conference in Munich, Reuters reported. He added that “the cooperation [with Navistar] is working really well.”
As for VW’s current share of Navistar acting as a takeover trigger, Gruendler explained that U.S. law would require VW to issue a formal takeover bid for Navistar if it increases its stake above 17 percent.
Julia Kroeber-Riel, head of Group Communications & Governmental Relations for Volkswagen Truck & Bus, told HDT that that matter of U.S. law is “exactly the fact why the news report [on a possible takeover] came up.”
As for a comment on whether VW Truck and Bus is considering raising its ownership stake of Navistar, she said, “On our way to becoming ‘Global Champion,’ we keep all options open.”
HDT also heard from Navistar Senior Communications Manager Lyndi McMillan, who stated that, “We have no comment regarding the speculation in the media of Volkswagen Truck & Bus taking a larger stake in Navistar. What we can say is that our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, is already demonstrating strong progress. We look forward to continued success with our strategic alliance.”