VW clinches majority stake in MAN

Volkswagen clinched a 55.9 per cent stake in Munich-based truckmaker MAN, clearing the way for the carmaker to start building its European truck empire.

Volkswagen's majority stake allows it to determine seats on the supervisory board, a way to accelerate cooperation between MAN and VW's Swedish brand Scania.

"Volkswagen is more than pleased with the result," Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.

"As a result, our objective of realizing substantial synergies between MAN, Scania and Volkswagen in the interest of all shareholders, employees and customers is moving closer."

VW's influential Chairman Ferdinand Piech has been itching to create Europe's biggest truckmaker to compete with rivals such as Volvo and Daimler and expand the reach of Volkswagen's sphere.

MAN, which loses its independence after 253 years in business, welcomed the fact that it now belongs to the VW family. A spokesman said: "The cooperation with Volkswagen and Scania now enters a new, offensive stage."