FRANKFURT/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish truck maker Scania's entire top management would leave in the event of a hostile takeover by a rival company, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Scania spokesman Hans-Ake Danielsson said that his company was emphatically against any forced tie-ups with rival firms, and that if such a takeover succeeded, its leadership would walk out.
"It's quite a natural reaction, isn't it?" said Danielsson, when asked if management would quit. "Scania's opinion is that it has the capacity to keep on trucking as it is right now."
Sweden's Volvo must sell its stake in domestic rival Scania by early next year for regulatory reasons, and speculation about a merger between Scania and a German competitor has been rife for many months.
The spokesman was confirming comments by Scania Chief Executive Leif Ostling in an interview with Germany's WirtschaftsWoche magazine, due to be published on Thursday.
"The purchase of a company whose management is not on your side is the worst investment decision that one can imagine," CEO Leif Ostling told the magazine. "It leads to the entire leadership of the company quitting after the takeover."
Beside Volvo, Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen AG, also holds a strategic stake in Scania, the world's most profitable truck maker, and has ruled out increasing its holding.
It also has said it would not sell its stake, though it would made sense for German truck maker MAN, Scania and VW to cooperate. It is unclear what form such cooperation would take.
MAN Chief Executive Rudolf Rupprecht said last week all possible combinations were being discussed for cooperation with Scania and Volkswagen, but that his company would want to be the main player in any tie-up.
Ostling dismissed talk of a takeover by MAN.
"A merger always brings internal struggles, especially when there are areas of overlap between MAN and Scania. It is unproductive and costs time, money and energy," he said.
"It is insulting when competitors speculate about the future of Scania without having spoken to us even once," he said.