Traton SE is the multi-billion-dollar operation you've likely never heard of.
Volkswagen makes cars, of course. More than just about any other automaker in Europe, in fact, if not the world. But it also makes large commercial vehicles – big trucks and buses especially, under names like MAN and Scania. And it's in the process of selling a big chunk of that business to anyone who cares to invest.
Just a few months ago, Volkswagen AG floated an initial public offering (IPO) for Traton SE on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. And now it's listing it on the Frankfurt exchange as well.
Traton SE may be the biggest division in the sprawling Volkswagen Group that you've never heard of. It was grouped together under the name Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH in 2013, and changed its name to Traton in the middle of last year. Today the company includes German manufacturer MAN SE, Sweden-based Scania AB (formerly part of Saab), and the Volkswagen Caminhoes e Onibus division based in Brazil. It's the market leader for trucks in both Europe and Brazil, selling over 200,000 sets of heavy-duty wheels each year worldwide. That puts it up there with the Volvo Group, FCA spin-off CNH Industrial, and Daimler's truck division.
Volkswagen is only floating 10.3 percent of Traton's stocks on the open exchange, with the remaining 89.7 percent staying in the parent company's hands. But those shares are worth billions. In launching the IPO, Traton SE was valued at a market cap of 11.3 billion euros, or about $12.5 billion in equivalent American greenbacks.
"These expert opinions encourage our conclusion that we are on the right path with our Global Champion Strategy. We will continue to pursue the sustainable development of our shareholder value," said Traton CFO Christian Schulz. "With this step, we have reached the next milestone in our success story."