Volkswagen is near hiring top banks for truck unit IPO

An employee polishes a wheel hub on a Volkswagen. (Bloomberg pic)

LONDON/FRANKFURT: Volkswagen AG is close to hiring banks and advisers to work on an initial public offering for its heavy-truck division, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are likely to win mandates as global coordinators for the share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are confidential. Rothschild is acting as IPO adviser, the people said.

Representatives for VW and the banks declined to comment.

VW’s trucks business has a value of about 28.5 billion euros (US$33.3 billion), according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean. The IPO would generate funds for the division’s expansion plans, especially outside Europe, to challenge Daimler AG and Volvo AB in the global trucks market.

Shares of VW rose 0.5% to 147.76 euros at 10.13am in Frankfurt.

The German manufacturer intends to list shares in the truck unit — which has been renamed Traton AG — next year, but the timing will depend on market conditions, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. VW has said it will retain a majority stake in the business, which generated revenue of about 24 billion euros last year.

The IPO of the unit — which comprises the highly profitable Swedish Scania brand, Germany’s MAN truck and bus marque as well as a business in Brazil — marks the most significant structural shift for VW so far as it undergoes a major revamp. Since taking over the top job earlier this year, VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess is pushing to accelerate efforts to make the world’s largest automaker less centralized and more agile by 2025 to tackle a seismic industry shift toward electric vehicles and new digital services.

German rival Daimler is adopting a new corporate structure as well that will grant its truck business more independence, but executives have remained tight-lipped so far about a possible IPO.