Sports carmaker Porsche is unlikely to boost its voting stake in Volkswagen to a majority until a new German law governing VW takes shape, several analysts said on Monday.
Uncertainty surrounding shareholders’ rights at Europe’s biggest carmaker once the new law takes effect means no move by Porsche to raise its 31 percent stake is imminent, analysts said in notes to clients.
Berlin has unveiled draft legislation to replace a law struck down in October by the European Union’s highest court. It still faces political consultations and must be passed by parliament, but if its main components remain, it would mean the German state of Lower Saxony would be able to veto major changes at VW.
‘We expect Porsche to wait with its decision before exercising its options and raising its (VW) stake by another 20 percent,’ analysts at Deutsche Bank said.
Exane Paribas analysts said expectations that Porsche would increase its VW stake before the VW annual meeting in April were open to doubt.
‘This timetable is increasingly uncertain because Porsche may await the end of the legislative process (for the new law) and the EU’s reaction to it,’ they said.
Citigroup analysts said the new VW law — blasted by Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking on Friday — posed a serious risk for Porsche, as did tough new rules on cars’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions planned by the EU.
Buying a majority stake in VW would cushion the financial blow for Porsche by lowering the group’s average CO2 emissions.
A source familiar with Porsche’s thinking told Reuters last year that it would not make any move before elections in VW’s home state of Lower Saxony, VW’s second-biggest shareholder with a voting stake of just over 20 percent.
Conservative state premier Christian Wulff and his pro-business Free Democrats coalition partner won Sunday’s elections, preserving the status quo. Wulff has said the state would keep its VW stake as long as he is premier.
– Automotive News Europe