Chief Company News Correspondent
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May 9, 2011

Volkswagen makes $20 bln MAN offer to kick off truck merger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen made a long-awaited bid for MAN, valuing it at $20 billion and stepping up plans to merge the German truckmaker with Swedish rival Scania in which it also holds a stake.

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, said on Monday it would offer MAN shareholders 95 euros per ordinary share and about 60 euros per preference share, in both cases less than the stock was trading at last week ahead of the bid.

May 6, 2011

ThyssenKrupp $14 billion sale plan flags consolidation

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares jumped on Friday after the German steelmaker unveiled a 10 billion euro ($14 billion) divestment plan that could spur consolidation in Europe’s overcrowded stainless steel sector.

The restructuring will include a spin-off of the company’s stainless steel division and aims to help ThyssenKrupp pay down debt and focus on its engineering business.

May 5, 2011

European airlines eye more cost cuts

FRANKFURT, May 5 (Reuters) – European airlines are seeking
ways to further cut their costs to offset soaring fuel prices
and the impact of international crises that are squeezing
margins this year.

Political unrest in North Africa, an earthquake and
subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan and European debt problems
are adding to a toxic mixture of high oil prices and fierce
competition among airlines fighting to make a profit.

May 4, 2011

BMW Q1 boosted by Chinese, U.S. demand

FRANKFURT, May 4 (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) beat expectations
in the first quarter on strong demand for luxury cars in China
and growth in the United States, signalling the rebound in the
global auto market is here to stay.

The company said it still aims to sell more than 1.5 million
cars this year and post higher earnings than in 2010.

May 3, 2011

Strong MAN shows European truck market motoring

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German truckmaker MAN (MANG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rode a recovery in the European market and growing Latin American demand to beat first quarter earnings expectations, underlining a wider recovery in the sector.

“The recovery on the European commercial vehicles market is proving to be sustained and is being driven by both domestic and foreign demand,” MAN said in a statement on Tuesday.

Apr 29, 2011

Daimler’s robust Q1 underwhelms hopeful market

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Daimler posted robust quarterly results that underwhelmed investors whose expectations had been inflated by recent stellar reports by peers such as Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Shares of Daimler slid to the bottom of the German blue-chip index .GDAXI as well as the STOXX Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts index, trading 2.1 percent lower at 51.97 euros at 0829 GMT.

Apr 27, 2011

VW closing gap on Toyota with emerging market sales

FRANKFURT, April 27 (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz),
Europe’s largest carmaker, tore through quarterly earnings
forecasts with emerging markets fuelling a sharp rise in sales
and taking it closer to its goal of overtaking Toyota (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Carmakers have turned to booming markets such as Brazil,
Russia and China — now the world’s largest auto market — for
growth as European markets stagnate.

Mar 25, 2011

Japan woes set to hit Europe auto sector-analysts

FRANKFURT, March 25 (Reuters) – European carmakers face
production cuts and a squeeze on profits if difficulties persist
in sourcing car parts from Japan, with some analysts saying they
could lose up to 2.4 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of annual
profits.

Some companies in Europe have already started cutting
production as problems mount at Japanese parts makers, hit by
the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, in turn
hampering carmakers and suppliers around the world.

Mar 9, 2011

Hilton CEO says in no rush for IPO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Hilton Worldwide Chief Executive Chris Nassetta said the hotel operator was not rushing to go public and would concentrate for now on expanding in fast-growing markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

“(An initial public offering) is certainly something we will consider at some point,” he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Mar 9, 2011

Travel companies warn of pinch from oil prices

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) – Travel companies warned on Wednesday that rising oil prices could hurt demand and squeeze margins in an industry already battling fierce competition, severe weather and political risk.

Starwood Hotels Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen told Reuters that he had not yet seen any effect on demand but warned that a continued rise could pose problems.