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Volkswagen execs indicate possible takeover of Navistar

Volkswagen executives signalled Monday that the company might consider a takeover of Navistar, according to information from Bloomberg.

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Matthias Gruendler, chief financial officer for VW’s truck and bus division, said the company might consider boosting its stake in Navistar, from 16.9 percent during a press conference in Munich, Bloomberg reported.

The Springfield News-Sun reported last year that Navistar finalized its strategic alliance with Volkswagen Truck and Bus, a deal that was expected to bolster the truckmaker’s finances and lead to extensive collaboration between the manufacturers.

Officials at Navistar said the alliance between the two companies has benefitted both sides, but declined to elaborate on speculation about a takeover Monday.

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“We have no comment regarding the speculation in the media of Volkswagen Truck and Bus taking a larger stake in Navistar,” said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar in an email to the News-Sun. “What we can say is that our alliance with Volkswagen Truck and Bus, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, is already demonstrating strong progress. We look forward to continued success with our strategic alliance.”

According to Bloomberg, Gruendler said a takeover, “would theoretically be possible and outlined a price tag of $3 to $4 billion without specifying dollars or euros.

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It’s not clear how any potential deal might impact Navistar’s Springfield manufacturing facility. Navistar’s Springfield facility produces medium, severe service and heavy duty commercial trucks, and the GM cutaway van on a separate line. The company is also in the midst of launching a new joint venture medium-duty Silverado with GM.

Navistar has more than 1,800 workers at its Springfield manufacturing plant and thousands of retirees living in the area.

Jason Barlow, president of the UAW Local 402, also said it’s early to discuss a potential takeover. The UAW represents the majority of workers at the Springfield site.

“Right now it is speculation and both parties have a good working relationship,” Barlow said. “The UAW negotiated a successor clause in the event of such situations in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

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