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VW Struggles With Sale of MAN Energy Solutions Unit

Aaron Kirchfeld, Christoph Rauwald and Eyk Henning

(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG is disappointed with the offers so far for its MAN Energy Solutions division, according to people familiar with the matter, potentially dealing another blow to the German automaker’s efforts to focus on cars.

VW has been holding bilateral talks since last year with potential buyers including Cummins Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Competitors including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. have previously shown interest, they said, adding that the carmaker may decide to retain the business unless better offers emerge.

Abandoning a sale of MAN Energy Solutions would mark a setback for VW’s efforts to concentrate on its core passenger car operations, which are requiring heavy spending to make the transition to electric vehicles. It sold a smaller-than-expected 10% stake in the Traton SE heavy-truck division in an initial public offering last year after months of delays and a previous attempt to divest the Ducati motorbike division was shot down by key stakeholders.

VW declined to comment on the effort to sell MAN. A representative for Cummins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment while Mitsubishi Heavy couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside of regular business hours. The shares rose were up 0.7% as of 10:43 a.m. Friday in Frankfurt.

VW decided about nine months ago to review strategic options including a sale of the specialist in large engines used in ships and factories. It also put industrial transmissions maker Renk AG, on the block. The power engineering group, which includes both Man Energy Solutions and Renk, has an sum-of-the-parts value of 2.5 billion euros ($2.76 billion), according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean.

A deal for Renk could still materialize as the maker of large gearboxes for tanks and other machinery has drawn interest from buyout firms EQT AB and Triton as well as German defence company Rheinmetall AG, according to people familiar with the matter. A winning bidder is expected to be selected in the next few weeks, they said.

A representative for EQT declined to comment. Representatives for Triton and Rheinmetall didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

MAN Energy Solutions has about 14,000 employees worldwide and recently changed its name from MAN Diesel & Turbo to highlight its sustainability offerings, which was seen as an effort to broaden the appeal of the unit.

(Updates with estimate of asset value in fifth paragraph)

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net;Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at crauwald@bloomberg.net;Eyk Henning in Frankfurt at ehenning1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Tara Patel

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