Porsche AG Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume signaled he’d be open to considering an initial public offering of the German sports-car maker if parent Volkswagen AG decides to pursue one.
“I think Porsche could be an interesting part for thinking about an IPO,” Blume said during a briefing with U.S. reporters, cautioning that a final decision won’t be his to make. “We have to hand it to Volkswagen and they have nothing decided.”
Listing the coveted car division has long been touted as a way to bolster VW’s stock-market valuation and help it catch up to the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. or Tesla Inc. VW is speaking with advisers to study the merits of a potential Porsche IPO, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess seemed to pour cold water on the idea this week when he said that Europe’s biggest automaker has no “immediate need” to raise funds for its costly push into electric cars, batteries and software. The German manufacturer, which owns 12 automotive brands, generates ample cash to pay for the transition, he said.
Porsche has been VW’s shining light during the pandemic. The brand’s deliveries dipped just 3% last year, thanks to robust demand in China, its largest market. That helped the Stuttgart-based manufacturer maintain a double-digit profit margin when many mass-market automakers suffered a dramatic downturn.
Porsche Chief Financial Offier Lutz Meschke first raised the benefits of a potential IPO in 2018, saying such a move could unlock value and replicate Ferrari NV’s successful share sale years earlier. The deliberations didn’t gain support from VW at the time.
The logic behind a potential IPO remains compelling, Meschke told reporters in a separate briefing Friday. Selling shares in Porsche won’t jeopardize VW’s plans to leverage cost synergies within the group, he said.
Meschke said he sees “a certain likelihood” for VW’s Bugatti brand to cooperate with Rimac Automobili, the Croatian electric hyper-car maker in which Porsche holds a 24% stake.
A tie-up would give Rimac access to Bugatti’s brand, customers and dealership network, while the French boutique outfit would gain a path toward electrification, he said.
Porsche is also expanding its lineup of battery-powered cars as it targets half of its sales to be electrified by 2025.
The company expects to sell more than 30,000 units of its fully-electric Taycan sports car this year after adding the more spacious Cross Turismo version. Porsche shipped about 20,000 Taycan models in 2020.
(Updates with CFO comments starting in seventh paragraph.)
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