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Schaeffler Says Not Trying To Change Conti Strategy

Release time : 2015-06-12 11:42:47
German ball bearings maker Schaeffler did not try to influence Continental's managers when it asked the automotive supplier's banks to be consulted on changes to loan agreements, a spokesman for Schaeffler said on Saturday. Continental has asked banks for more time to pay off about 11 billion euros' ($14.59 billion) worth of loans it took on to buy the VDO automotive electronics business. Continental said on Friday it was "concerned" that Schaeffler, which is in the process of buying a major stake in Continental, tried to interfere with its talks with the banks. People familiar with the matter had said that Schaeffler sent a letter to the bank asking to be consulted on planned changes to loan agreements since it would soon be a major shareholder of the company. "Banking sources informed Schaeffler that Continental was considering an agreement in connection with talks with the VDO-banks that could considerably harm Continental and its shareholders when the Schaeffler takeover offer becomes effective," Schaeffler's spokesman said. Schaeffler earlier this year set out to buy Continental and after a bitter stand-off won the automotive supplier's backing in August for a partial takeover deal. "And in our letter on Dec. 11 we merely wanted to avert the risk that such agreements were made," he said. Schaeffler also rejected Continental's claim that its move to contact the company's banks breached an investor agreement between the two companies. To win Continental's approval of the takeover, Schaeffler had agreed to limit its stake to just under 50 percent for four years and to refrain from interfering with management's strategy and demanding substantial structural measures.