Qatar raises VW stake; gets Porsche board seat image

Qatar’s sovereign investment fund said Friday it has exercised its options to acquire Volkswagen AG shares and increased its voting stake to 17% as planned.

“As a long-term strategic investor, we continue to believe that the investment in VW and the envisaged combination of Porsche SE and VW represents a unique investment asset,” Qatar Holding LLC’s Chief Executive Ahmad Al-Sayed said in a statement.

Separately, Porsche Automobil Holding SE (PAH3.XE) said Friday that Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulaziz Bin Jassim Al-Thani is set to succeed Hans-Peter Porsche on the German sports-car maker’s supervisory board as of Jan. 29.

As part of the complex merger between Volkswagen and Porsche, which is due to be finalized in 2011, Qatar has become Volkswagen’s third anchor shareholder and acquired a 10% voting stake in Stuttgart-based Porsche from the Porsche and Piech owner families.

Volkswagen’s two largest shareholders are Porsche Holding with a 51% stake and the German state of Lower Saxony with a stake of just above 20%.

Last week, Volkswagen acquired a 49.9% stake in Porsche’s core sports-car operations for EUR3.9 billion and confirmed that the merger is expected to be finalized in 2011. Porsche will use the EUR3.9 billion mainly to repay liabilities. Porsche tried to take over full control of Volkswagen, but the deal backfired when credit markets collapsed and Porsche’s debt ballooned. Volkswagen is now driving the deal.

As the next step, Volkswagen plans to buy the Porsche Holding Salzburg retail operations. Porsche’s sports-car operations are poised to be integrated into Volkswagen as the company’s 10th brand along with nameplates such as Audi, Skoda and Seat.

Source: Dow Jones

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