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UPDATE 1-Haldex asks for clarity from Knorr after ZF drops out
October 5, 2016 / 8:36 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Haldex asks for clarity from Knorr after ZF drops out

* Haldex demands clarity after ZF bows out of bidding war

* ZF failed to reach its 50 percent threshold

* ZF says will seek talks with Haldex shareholders (Adds comments from ZF CEO and Haldex chairman)

STOCKHOLM, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Haldex asked Knorr-Bremse on Wednesday to clarify its intentions towards the Swedish brake systems maker after ZF Friedrichshafen bowed out of a bidding war with its rival German car parts supplier.

Haldex, which initially backed ZF’s 120 crown per share offer rather than a 125 crown bid from Knorr-Bremse, wants to know if the German firm will follow through with its takeover.

A number of German car parts makers have Haldex in their sights, in particular to get their hands on its expertise in brakes for trailers which could be used in integrated autonomous driving systems that are being developed for trucks.

“We have asked for information from them, what their plans are, so we feel secure in that. But we don’t have the type of information so that we can be sure they are determined to complete the deal,” Haldex Acting Chairman Magnus Johansson said.

“Our fear is that customers are going to start to act on the current uncertainty. There is a risk for business here and a risk that the staff feel uncertainty,” he said.

ZF on Wednesday said it would reach out to its German rival Knorr-Bremse to review options for Haldex.

“We look forward to constructive talks with the other shareholders of Haldex over the future development of the company,” ZF Chief Executive Stefan Sommer said in a statement.

“We will stay true to our Strategy 2025. To meet future mega-trends of the industry, we will continue to invest in and expand ZF’s diverse product portfolio. However, we do not depend on any single acquisition to achieve those aims,” Sommer said.

ZF said on Tuesday it held 21.7 percent of Haldex shares but only another 9.6 percent of shareholders had accepted its 5.29 billion Swedish crown ($618 million) offer.

“The shares tendered in the offer will automatically be returned to their respective owners,” ZF said in a statement.

Knorr-Bremse said on Wednesday: “Knorr-Bremse feels validated in its view that we made the better offer. The offer runs until Dec. 5 and shareholders can decide until then whether to tender their shares.”

ZF is prevented from raising its offer for another 12 months under Swedish takeover rules.

$1 = 8.5644 Swedish crowns Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom in Stockholm, Edward Taylor and Ilona Wissenbach in Frankfurt; editing by Niklas Pollard and David Clarke

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