Porsche denies that CEO Wiedeking will leave
German newspapers Financial Times Deutschland and the Die Welt on Thursday reported that the Porsche and Piech families that control Porsche have agreed on Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech’s plan for VW to merge the car maker into VW group.
Porsche's deputy chairman, Uwe Hueck, said on Thursday that the families which own Porsche Automobil Holding SE have not agreed to join forces with Volkswagen.
Hueck said he had been promised by both families that they would make no decision before consulting Porsche's supervisory board.
Wiedeking opposes a merge with VW.
Business weekly WirtschaftsWoche said on Wednesday that the CEO would leave Porsche and a successor will be decided on shortly. The magazine also reported that Wiedeking would be replaced by an interim executive, who has had management experience at both Porsche and Volkswagen.
Financial Times Deutschland named German lawyers it claims Wiedeking has hired to advise him on leaving Porsche.
Porsche strongly denied that Wiedeking will leave the company. "Wendelin Wiedeking is doing his job and will continue to do his job," Porsche told news agencies.
Hueck, who is also Porsche's labor boss, told German television that Wiedeking would stay in office until his contract runs out in 2012. He added that Wiedeking preferred to strengthen the group's balance sheet by issuing new shares and selling a stake to a Qatari investment fund.
Die Welt said the Porsche and Piech families will formalize VW acquiring a stake in Porsche before both companies hold special board meetings in Stuttgart on July 23.
On Thursday, Hueck said: "Hans Michel Piech and Wolfgang Porsche have given me their word that the families will not decide anything without discussing it with the supervisory board."
Hans Michel Piech is Ferdinand's brother and a Porsche board member. Their cousin Wolfgang Porche is Porsche chairman.
What those three decide behind closed doors will finally determine the shape of any deal. The families are contractually obliged to vote together on strategic issues.
Bigger debt than expected
Porsche had to abandon plans to take full control of its much larger peer as its debt mounted -- sources told Reuters on Wednesday its net debt has surpassed 10 billion euros ($14.09 billion) -- just as global car markets collapsed.
Porsche ran up the debt by buying a 51 percent stake in VW and share options estimated by analysts between 20 percent of 25 percent .
When car sales collapsed and credit became tougher to obtain, Wiedeking hit difficulties in trying to finance the ambitious take over of the far bigger VW.
Wiedeking is trying to raise fresh funds for Porsche through deals with the Gulf state of Qatar.
Porsche’s debt would be reduced partly through a capital injection worth about 5 billion euros, which the Porsche and Piech families would provide together with Qatar, according to media reports.
But Piech has pushed a rival plan that entails cash-rich VW buying a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche for more than 4 billion euros. Hueck said that such a stake would be worth double that amount.