Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Volvo makes bid for Nissan Diesel

From Volvo news:

"AB Volvo’s Board of Directors has decided to make a public offer to acquire the Japanese truck manufacturer Nissan Diesel. The offer, which is supported by Nissan Diesel’s Board of Directors, means that Volvo offers JPY 540 in cash per share and the total value of Volvo’s offer amounts to SEK 7.5 billion. Volvo already owns a 19% holding in Nissan Diesel and preference shares which can be converted to an additional 27.5%, after full dilution.

“With Volvo as owner, Nissan Diesel gains the resources and the financial stability needed to fully capitalize on the opportunities that a closer cooperation offers to both parties,” says Volvo CEO Leif Johansson.

Volvo’s offer for Nissan Diesel represents a premium of 32% based on the average prices during the past three months. The offer is open through March 23 and is not conditional upon a lowest level of acceptance, but is dependent on the necessary approvals from the anti-trust authorities. Volvo anticipates that payment can be made for acquired shares on or about March 29, 2007. If the offer for Nissan Diesel is implemented, Volvo will have paid a total of SEK 13 billion for all shares, corresponding to JPY 469 per share.

“Nissan Diesel’s products and know-how represent a valuable complement to the Group’s truck business,” says Leif Johansson. “Nissan Diesel holds a solid position in Japan and the rest of Asia where the Volvo Group foresees substantial growth potential. A merger offers both parties even greater possibilities to learn and benefit from each other’s know-how and resources.”

“During our joint synergy study, great trust grew between the companies and I believe that the merger is the best alternative for Nissan Diesel’s future,” says Iwao Nakamura, President of Nissan Diesel.

Since Volvo’s first purchase of shares in Nissan Diesel, Volvo’s Deputy CEO Jorma Halonen was appointed Vice Chairman in Nissan Diesel’s Board. Jorma Halonen sees major mutual advantages with an even closer cooperation.

“Nissan Diesel can benefit from the Volvo Group’s resources and know-how, but Volvo can also benefit greatly from Nissan Diesel’s experience of medium-heavy trucks and its expertise in, for example, hybrid technology,” he says.

In 2005, Nissan Diesel sold approximately 42,000 trucks and buses. In Japan, Nissan Diesel holds a market share of about 24% in heavy trucks and 15% in the medium-heavy segment. Sales in 2005 amounted to about SEK 32.5 billion. The company has 8,900 employees.

The study of coordination possibilities carried out jointly by Volvo and Nissan Diesel identified synergies over five years of about EUR 200 M annually, slightly more than SEK 1.8 billion. The major portion of the integration gains is as a result of increased purchasing volumes, but positive effects also arise within product development, engines and drivelines. Other gains arise in that the companies have access to each other’s dealer and service networks, primarily in Asia but also in other parts of the world.

Volvo assesses that the net interest-bearing debt in Nissan Diesel in accordance with IFRS amounts to about SEK 7.5 billion. Accordingly, at full consolidation Volvo’s net financial position, including the purchase consideration, will decline by SEK 15 billion.

HistoryIn March 2006, Volvo acquired 40 million shares in Nissan Diesel, corresponding to 13% of the votes and capital. In September of the same year, Volvo increased its ownership to 58.2 million shares corresponding to 19% of votes and capital. At the same time, Volvo purchased all 57.5 million preference shares in the company that through 2014 would be converted in stages and which in 2014 would provide Volvo with 46.5% of the votes and capital in the company, after full dilution.

However, as early as in April 2008, Volvo’s ownership after conversion of preference shares would have increased to 41.9%."

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chicago Bears Rashied Davis buys a new Volvo XC90

This is a great story, I'm glad to see he's a Volvo owner too.

From SFGate:

FROM SAN JOSE TO SUPER BOWL Chicago's Rashied Davis beat some long odds

(02-03) 04:00 PST Miami -- At some point, Rashied Davis figured out he had arrived. All those years, scrapping to get through coaching changes at San Jose State, the benching, the position switch, the three years spent torturing his young body in the Arena League playing for the San Jose SaberCats.

In 2005, he finally accomplished the NFL dream, landing a job with the Chicago Bears.

His wealthy teammates would make fun of his car out in the parking lot, a high-mileage Toyota.

They goofed on him because Davis had given his wife a new car, a Mercedes.

This season, with the Bears playing in Super Bowl XLI and Davis, 27, no longer a special-teams dweller but an integral part of Chicago's wide receiver package, he bought himself a new Volvo. With some trepidation.

"I have to admit, I try to be pretty careful with my money," Davis said. "I know how hard it is to earn it."

He is sincere about that, because his past is so compelling.

By most accounts, a guy like Davis doesn't make it this far.

"I don't want this to be a Rashied Davis sob story," he pleaded this week. It isn't.

This is about inspiration.

Davis talks openly about the fear and turmoil of a childhood with eight brothers and sisters growing up in violent, gang-infested South Central Los Angeles, a mile or so east of the L.A. Coliseum.

The gang lifestyle tugged at his brothers, drawing them in. Davis resisted. So did his father, Marion, but that didn't stop Marion Davis from being gunned down as he rode a bicycle through the drive-through lane at a fast food restaurant. Killed. Young Rashied was only 8 years old.
People have wondered during Super Bowl week how Davis could have made it to the NFL without playing varsity football in high school. Here's why.

"Because my mom made an executive decision," he said.

Judy Jamerson would not have her son study amid the gunfire. She saw to it that the fifth of her nine children would be bused, more than four hours a day, to Kennedy High in Granada Hills in the faraway San Fernando Valley. He would be exposed to better academics. More potential.
"I didn't have time to play football -- I was on the bus all day," Davis said. He also was speedy, but too small -- 5-feet-nothing, 90 pounds.

But as Davis' body matured to 5-9 and 170 pounds, his mind also grew. College was his next step. Friends were trying out for football at West Los Angeles College, and so did he.

During his sophomore season, when Davis had impressed coaches with his ability to hit as a defensive back and catch the ball as a receiver, San Jose State was among several schools pursuing him. He signed on in 2000.

Under coach Dave Baldwin, Davis caught 40 passes for 785 yards and blossomed. But even college couldn't shelter him from his past. During Davis' junior season, the Spartans upset TCU. Davis returned to San Jose in triumph, only to learn that his brother, Delion, had tried but failed to escape the gangs. He, too, had been murdered.

Coach Fitz Hill arrived at San Jose State in 2001. Hill wasn't impressed with Davis as a receiver, benched him, then told him at halftime of a game at Nevada that he would play the rest of that game as a cornerback. Covering future NFL player Nate Burleson.

"I just tried to use my natural abilities, and just went with it," Davis recalled. Burleson didn't get a single catch in that second half.

Despite his two-way skills, the NFL wasn't interested in a small player from San Jose State. Newly married and eager to support his wife, Dianna, Davis signed with the SaberCats. He won two Arena League titles, upping his meager salary to $35,000 a season as a result. "Playoff money," Davis said.

But the SaberCats' postseason success kept Davis from trying out for NFL teams at training camps.

He supplemented his income by coaching football at West Valley College, for a measly $1,000. And as the indoor game took its toll on his body, Davis began wondering if maybe he should pursue a career in law enforcement. He also took college classes during the Arena League offseason, to earn his degree in sociology finally from San Jose State.

In 2005, when San Jose was knocked out of the playoffs early, one of his coaches contacted Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and told him of this terrific two-way player.

"He didn't come in and all of a sudden become a star," Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "He was on the team as a defensive back for a year, helped on special teams. He just kept working and impressing.

"We all loved his personality and loved his play-making ability. He finally got a chance and took advantage."

"I was blessed to be at the right place at the right time," Davis said of his entry into the Bears' deep roster. "You know, they didn't draft any corners last season. They were looking for me to be mainly a special-teams player and maybe a returner. I was just lucky to be here.

"Lovie (Smith) and the coaches kept me around long enough to show them that this is where I'm supposed to be."

Turner had Davis switch to receiver this season and he caught 22 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. As returner, Davis averaged 23.5 yards on 32 kickoffs.

As the Bears' success exploded, Davis figured he owed himself something. He made sure he and Dianna owned their own home in Chicago. He made sure she had a safe car to drive. He took care of his family in L.A.

Finally, he did something for himself.

"Yeah, I finally bought that car," he said. "A Volvo XC90. A nice, safe choice."

Davis has made so many nice, safe, smart choices in his life, it should be no surprise that he got to this point. A college degree. The chance to play in an NFL Championship Game.
Is he the greatest story to come out of this Super Bowl?

"I don't know," Davis said, almost shyly. "I guess I have beaten some pretty big odds."

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Saturday, February 03, 2007