The year may have started fabulously for Porsche, as global sales in January were up by 25.5 percent to 12,061 deliveries compared to the same month in 2011 (9,613 units), but it now faces new trouble concerning its 2008 failed attempt to acquire VW.
The German manufacturer won a victory in the U.S. a couple of months ago after the New York Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by 26 hedge funds on jurisdiction grounds. The prosecutors in Stuttgart, Germany, though, are not quite finished.
Having already charged former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and CFO Holger Haerter with market manipulation, they have now extended their probe to all members of Porsche SE’s holding company supervisory board, including company chairman Wolfgang Porsche and his cousin, and VW Group mastermind, Ferdinand Piech.
In March of 2008, Porsche SE dismissed reports that it intended to take over VW. Then in October, it revealed that it had secretly acquired 42.6 percent of VW’s common shares and held options for another 31.5 percent. As a result, VW stock prices soared and short-sellers who had bet that it would fall lost quite a lot of money and, consequently, sued the company.
Eventually, Porsche SE was left with a debt in excess of €10 billion (US$13.4 billion in today’s exchange rate) and sold Porsche AG, its car-making division, to VW. The holding company still exists, though, with its only asset being its 51 percent stake in VW.
Porsche and its executives, who still have to face lawsuits asking for more than €4 billion (US$5.4 billion) in damages in Stuttgart, have denied all allegations.
By Andrew TsaousisStory References: Autonews