Swedish truckmaker Scania's chief executive apologized Friday for drawing parallels between German rival MAN's hostile takeover bid and Nazi tactics during World War II.
Leif Ostling said in a statement that his comments about Germany had been "interpreted in a way that was not intended."
In an interview with Swedish broadcaster TV8 on Wednesday, Ostling was quoted as saying that "the German is an expert at blitzkrieg, but has also lost many of them," comparing MAN's 10.3 billion euros ($13.7 billion) takeover bid for Scania with the war tactics used by Nazi Germany.
In another interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter, he was quoted as saying that Germans "in leading positions" don't have any respect for small nations like Sweden.
"These statements were never meant to be perceived as offensive, but if that is the case, I deeply regret it and apologize," Ostling said in a brief statement.
Scania has rejected Munich-based MAN's bid, saying it undervalues the Swedish company.
MAN on Thursday said it was giving Scania's shareholders more time to accept the offer, extending the acceptance period from Monday to the end of January.