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Qatar’s interest in Porsche questioned

AFP/DPA/The Local · 17 Jun 2009, 08:58

Published: 17 Jun 2009 08:58 GMT+02:00

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The family owners of Porsche apparently have doubts about selling a large chunk of the firm to the Gulf nation.

According to the FTD, patriarch Ferdinand Piëch blocked any attempts for a quick agreement at a meeting on Monday with other family shareholders. Instead of signing off on the deal, Piëch reportedly raised new questions about the wisdom of proceeding with it.

Porsche’s management including Chairman Wendelin Wiedeking was not invited to the shareholder meeting. Wiedeking is trying to raise up to €5 billion for the indebted carmaker, which is having trouble swallowing the much larger Volkswagen. Qatar would invest at least €2 billion and the family would pony up the rest.

However, a Porsche spokesman told the FTD that there had not even been a meeting of family shareholders. “That’s a targeted move to upset matters,” he said.

Qatar reportedly wants at least a 25-percent stake in Porsche and a blocking share – something Piëch apparently doesn’t like.

“Up to this point there’s no specific information what Qatar is planning to do with its investment and how they see the the family’s planned merger with VW,” a source attending the meeting on Monday told the paper.

After attempting to take over VW, the much smaller Porsche has found itself sitting on a mountain of debt worth around €9 billion.

Qatar's prime minister said late Tuesday the outcome of talks to acquire the stake in Porsche should be revealed within three weeks.

"The Qatar Investment Authority is in talks with the company. The picture should be clearer in two to three weeks," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters.

Story continues below…

"We are still negotiating over the share to be acquired," he said. "We have not disclosed any details, nor has Porsche, because there is an agreement between the two parties not to divulge any information."

Qatar's investment would allow the carmaker to regain the initiative over VW, which has begun contemplating a reverse takeover. It would also mark the second major investment by Middle Eastern interests in Germany's auto sector.

In late March, the Abu Dhabi state investment fund Aabar Investments bought a nine percent stake in Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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