May 16, 2018 / 9:54 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Germany's MAN to speed cost cuts to back VW's trucks drive

* Increased 3.9 pct oper margin not satisfactory -CEO

* Eyes more savings in production, R&D, administration

* Expects higher rev, truck sales; flat oper profit (Adds CEO comments, 2018 outlook, background)

MUNICH, May 16 (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s truck brand MAN said it will push for greater savings in production, development and administration this year to support the group’s drive to become a major force in global truck-making.

Europe’s largest automotive group is pondering a stock market listing next year of its trucks division, which has since 2015 driven up profit and sales by fostering greater cooperation between the MAN and Scania brands in development and purchasing.

“We want to achieve a higher level of efficiency for the entire (MAN) group,” MAN SE Chief Executive Joachim Drees said at the truckmaker’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, without being more specific.

Although the group, which includes the Diesel & Turbo engine and Renk transmissions units, last year boosted profit, orders and sales thanks to a previous round of restructuring and job cuts, CEO Drees said he was not yet satisfied.

“We think this performance is encouraging, although profitability is still not satisfactory,” he said.

“We have every right to be proud of what we have accomplished, but we should not rest on our laurels. Our aim is to achieve across-the-board excellence in our day-to-day work.”

For 2018, MAN is targeting a slight increase in group revenue from last year’s 14.3 billion euros ($16.89 billion), slightly higher truck sales and operating profit broadly matching the 2017 result of 566 million euros, Drees said. ($1 = 0.8467 euros) (Reporting by Irene Preisinger Writing by Andreas Cremer Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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