Qatar ready to buy 25% stake in Porsche: reports

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM CDT

Qatar is ready to acquire at least a 25-percent stake in German luxury sportscar maker Porsche, heavily in debt after increasing its shares in Volkswagen, German media reported.

"The emirate of Qatar and its advisor Credit Suisse on June 8 finished the preliminary examination of Porsche's books," the German news weekly Der Spiegel said in an article to appear in Monday's edition.

Ferdinand Piech, a co-owner of Porsche and former Volkswagen boss, does not have enough backing to turn down Qatar, the weekly said.

A special meeting of Porsche's board of directors could decide in early July on a capital increase to present to shareholders at an annual general meeting in September.

"At the latest by November, four to five billion euros (5.6 to 7.0 billion dollars) could be added to Porsche's accounts by a capital increase," Spiegel said.

According to the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, how Qatar can invest in Porsche will be discussed this weekend.

Qatar has asked for voting shares, a first at Porsche which is wholly controlled by members of the Porsche-Piech families, German media reported.

Porsche is being crushed by nine billion euros in debt incurred when it tried to take over Volkswagen, the biggest European carmaker in which Porsche now holds a stake of 51 percent.

Porsche abandoned its bid to take full control of VW last month and the two car makers said they would discuss terms of a merger, but disagreements quickly surfaced between the Porsche and Piech families.

The state of Qatar investing in Porsche could allow the car maker to revive its original plan of taking over the much bigger VW.

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.

Porsche could not be reached Saturday for comment on the media reports.

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