Porsche sees VW merger on ‘right track’, shares up

Porsche sees VW merger on ‘right track’, shares up

Doha: Porsche’s planned merger with Volkswagen is on “the right track", a senior family member said on Wednesday, sending shares in both automakers higher.

Porsche supervisory board and family member Wolfgang Porsche also said the automaker expected to hear next week whether hedge funds will appeal the dismissal of their US lawsuit against Porsche.

“We are improving. We’re on the right track," he said of the merger, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in the Qatari capital.

Volkswagen and Porsche shares rose 3% and 5.2% respectively, partly on Porsche’s comments on the imminent merger.

“This is certainly being perceived as positive by investors," a Frankfurt-based trader said.

Porsche SE is to be subsumed into the Volkswagen empire with shareholders trading in their holdings for stock in Europe’s largest carmaker once their company is debt-free as part of a planned merger.

Wolfgang Porsche later told Reuters that Qatar is unlikely to boost its 10% stake in Porsche though the two sides are in talks for cooperation in several areas. The tiny Gulf Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority, bought a 10% stake in Porsche for $10 billion in September 2009.

“They (Qatar) will stay with us until the merger comes through, but more than 10% is not in question," he said.

“We are in a lot of talks, but no decisions made."

Legal issues

Earlier this month, a US judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking more than $2 billion in damages, saying hedge funds could not maintain securities fraud claims based on Porsche’s tactics when it tried to take over VW in 2008.

The decision cleared a key obstacle to the automakers’ merger.

The legal problems in the United States are “hopefully gone," Porsche said, adding whether the ruling will be appealed will be known by the end of January.

“But we still have the Germans," he said, with a chuckle.

The first lawsuit in Germany against Porsche, claiming losses related to the Volkswagen stock options in 2008 was filed earlier in January.