HANOVER -- German Supplier ZF Friedrichshafen has not ruled out a further improvement in its offer for Swedish braking systems maker Haldex in view of German rival Knorr-Bremse's higher bid, CEO Stefan Sommer said on Wednesday.
"We haven't said anything about whether this is the final offer," Sommer said of his company's 120 Swedish crowns per share bid for Haldex.
"We will keep all negotiating positions open," he added, speaking at the IAA commercial vehicles trade show.
ZF's bid is below Knorr-Bremse's current 125 crowns per share offer and both fall short of Haldex's closing price of 127 euros per share on Wednesday, valuing the company at around $650 million.
Several German suppliers have been looking to buy Haldex, keen on its expertise in brakes for road freight trailers in particular as they seek to develop integrated autonomous driving systems for commercial vehicles.
Haldex said on Monday its board had unanimously recommended shareholders accept ZF's offer because while their businesses were complementary the bid by Knorr-Bremse, which makes braking systems for commercial vehicles, could run into difficulties with the competition regulators.
Haldex CEO Bo Annvik joined ZF's news conference at the trade show on Wednesday and warned that a protracted vetting process for a Knorr-Bremse takeover could cause some customers to jump ship.
A large number of Haldex shareholders were therefore likely to back ZF's lower but safe offer, Annvik said.
"We see this as a friendly takeover. Knorr is our main competitor in all eight product lines," Annvik said.
Knorr's head of commercial vehicles, Peter Laier, declined to comment on Annvik's remarks.
"We are strongly convinced that the merger of the two companies [Knorr and Haldex] would be an advantage for all participants," Laier said.