Qatar interested in Porsche

From the New York Times:

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar is still considering taking a stake in debt-laden Porsche <PSHG_p.DE>, or other German auto companies, after the carmaker scaled down a bid for Volkswagen <VOWG.DE>, the prime minister said on Saturday.

“This subject is under study,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told Reuters when asked about the status of Qatar’s interest in a stake in Porsche or other German carmakers.

“From a legal point of view, I can’t comment further.”

German weekly magazine Focus reported earlier this month the Emir of Qatar was a possible investor in the proposed merger between Porsche and Europe’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen.

Porsche, which holds nearly 51 percent of VW’s voting stock, was forced in May to scale down an attempt to seize full control of Volkswagen and instead seek a merger whose details are supposed to be worked out by early June but could take longer.

Porsche’s 9 billion euros ($12.6 billion) in net debt built up for a VW takeover before car markets collapsed have made its finances a focal point of attempts to strike a deal.

The Emir of Qatar first expressed an interest in investing in the German auto industry in a March interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. Qatari state media said in late April Qatar was looking at German carmakers.

The premier of the German state of Lower Saxony, which has 20 percent voting rights in Volkswagen, said earlier in May the state was open to an Arab investor taking a stake in Volkswagen.

Lower Saxony is currently the second-biggest shareholder behind Porsche.

Qatar’s interest comes on the heels of Abu Dhabi’s state-controlled IPIC purchase of a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler <DAIGn.DE> for almost 2 billion euros via exchange-listed investment vehicle Aabar <AABAR.AD>.

(Reporting by Dania Saadi; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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