Qatar picks 17 per cent stake in Volkswagen

Qatar picks 17 per cent stake in Volkswagen

This comes after the Porsche and Piech families said it will sell a 10 per cent stake of their shares to the Gulf company. In a statement released late Friday, Qatar Holding said it will now be the third largest shareholder in VW, after Porsche and Lower Saxony.

The purchase follows the UAE’s Aabar Investment acquisition in March of a 10 per cent stake of Daimler AG, famed for its Mercedes-Benz brand, indicating continuing Gulf interest in the European automotive sector despite the economic downturn.

The statement says Porsche will also establish research facilities in Doha as part of the deal.  Qatar also agreed to provide 265 million euros ($376 million) to participate in a syndicated loan, Porsche said.

Failed takeover

The transaction will help finance the combination of Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, with Porsche, which is struggling with 10 billion euros ($14.2 billion) in debt after acquiring 51 per cent of Volkswagen in a failed takeover attempt. Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, agreed on Thursday to pay 3.3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) for a 42 per cent stake in Porsche’s automotive unit as a first step in the two-year merger process.

Porsche, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany, halted its effort in May to buy VW, which included purchasing options for an additional 20 per cent of Volkswagen stock, and the companies outlined plans last month that included Qatari investments. Qatar will acquire a majority of the options, Porsche said Friday, without specifying a figure.

The Qatari financial commitment to the merger amounts to 7 billion euros ($10 billion), the state investment company said. Porsche has pledged to set up a center for research, development and testing in the emirate, it said. Volkswagen Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said Qatar would hold 17 per cent of the combined company and the Porsche and Piech families would have 35 to 39 per cent. Qatar will become the company’s third-largest shareholder, after the families and the German state of Lower Saxony, which holds 20 per cent. Porsche will become the 10th brand at Volkswagen, which also owns the Audi, Lamborghini and Bugatti luxury divisions et al.

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