Volkswagen announced plans on Friday to raise up to $2.1 billion by listing its truck unit Traton, scaling back earlier ambitions to list up to a quarter of the unit by opting to instead float a 10% stake.
In a statement, the German carmaker said the offering would be priced at $30 to $37 per share, which Jefferies analysts said valued Traton at a slight discount to industry peers but at a premium to Swedish competitor Volvo.
Traton, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, is one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers. Its mission is to “become a global champion of the commercial vehicle industry and reinvent transport for future generations.”
The Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen plans to invest proceeds in transforming its auto production as it readies the launch of dozens of electric vehicles over the coming years.
In related developments, Volkswagen is nearing a deal with Ford to cooperate on electric car technology and self-driving vehicles, according to VW CEO Herbert Diess, who also called for a “faster transformation” of the German car manufacturer.
The talks with Ford are “progressing well” and are close to being finalized, Diess said in recent prepared remarks delivered at a gathering of the carmaker’s 500 most senior executives in Wolfsburg.
The pact, which already includes co-producing vans and pickup trucks, is part of VW’s plan to add scale and save costs to counter slower sales and record spending requirements to develop new technologies.
Volkswagen and Ford have committed to co-develop vans and trucks that will see showrooms in 2022, both automakers announced earlier this week.
VW and Ford each sell more than 3 dozen commercial models, totaling about 1.2 million vehicles per year.
VW is also seeking to capitalize on the premium that truck stocks command over automakers to create an acquisition currency, having earlier shown interest in U.S.-based truck maker Navistar.
Management denies that a Navistar deal is in immediate prospect, but such a move would fit with a broader pivot by the leading European carmaker towards the United States to balance its reliance on China, where it sells half its cars.
The aim of all strategic partnerships is to strengthen Traton’s global presence.
“Without a strong presence in the U.S. – still our weakest region – global trade conflicts risk putting us in a dire situation,” Diess said. “Today, we are a company that’s strongly influenced by China. We need a counterweight in the U.S.”
The stake size is at the bottom end of a range of 10%-20% that sources had earlier indicated. If banks running the deal exercise an over-allotment option, the issue size could reach 11.5% of Traton’s equity.
At the offer range, the initial public offering values Traton at $15-18.5 billion.
The offering will begin on Monday, June 17, with management holding a series of investor roadshows. It ends on June 27, with the first day of trading in Frankfurt and Stockholm set for June 28.