PORSCHE: An Energy Company? Real Estate?
Monday, June 25th, 2012
You may have thought the executives at Porsche SE, the holding company that botched a takeover attempt of Volkswagen three years ago, were short a few marbles when they made such a foolish move, but now Porsche SE may be headed into an even stranger direction.
Anticipating the sale of Porsche to Volkswagen and anxious to get that over with, Porsche SE is asking its shareholders to vote today on changes to the company's charter that would permit management to seek investments in automotive materials, real estate and energy trading.
CEO of Volkswagen and Porsche SE, Martin Winterkorn told shareholders today, "The focus would be on activities along the automotive value chain." He went on to assure them that "Porsche SE is and remains inseparable from the automotive industry."
If and when Volkswagen exercises options to acquire the 50.1% stake in Porsche that it doesn't own, Porsche could be left with as much as $3.1 billion in cash. Without new investments, however, the company will have nothing else to do but manage the 50.7% of Volkswagen shares that it owns. The car business would go to Volkswagen.
All of this is coming to light as Porsche SE appears to have found a way to complete the sale to Volkswagen in what would be a tax-free deal. The loophole has been criticized by politicians but Mr. Winterkorn argues that the state would benefit significantly through higher tax income.
The one issue the partners have not seemed to settle as of yet is the multiple financial suits that have been brought against Porsche both in Germany and the U.S. Those lawsuits, which claim that Porsche mislead investors as it tried to amass Volkswagen stock, remain unsettled.
While all of this goes on, keep in mind that the Porsche family and the Piech family control 90% of Porsche's voting stock.
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