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Continental takeover worries Phoenix works council

Hamburg. Labor representatives at Phoenix AG say they are against a takeover by Continental AG.

"Phoenix can manage without Continental," said Nils Mauch, chairman of the general works council, in an interview with Automobilwoche. "We believe that we have real chances to survive on the market on our own."

Works council member Silke Falk is also skeptical about the planned deal: "I believe that in the case of a takeover a few jobs would be cut, at least within management."

Continental declared two weeks ago that it wanted to merge the rubber products and acoustics systems maker with it ContiTech division. The Hanover-based tire and brake supplier has offered to pay 15 euros a share for Phoenix, or more than 227 million euros.

Phoenix employees are apparently worried about Continental's acquisition plans because Continental CEO Manfred Wennemer has moved numerous jobs to low-wage countries during the past few years.

The Phoenix works council will therefore try "anything possible to prevent job cuts, if a takeover cannot be avoided," Mauch said.

Conflicts between the two sides are already foreseeable. Wennemer said that he expects "synergies of approximately 30 million euros from a merger between ContiTech and Phoenix." But industry experts say this goal cannot be reached without a significant number of job cuts.

The Phoenix works council has not decided whether it will organize protests or even strikes. "First we will wait for the details of the business model," Mauch said. He said that Phoenix CEO Meinhard Liebing promised that those details would be ready sometime this week.

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