Porsche SE, the family-controlled holding company that owns a majority of Volkswagen AG, said it views legal claims in Germany by 25 plaintiffs seeking more than 1.36 billion euros ($1.77 billion) as unfounded.
Porsche “considers the alleged claims to be without merit and will respond by filing a motion to dismiss,” the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement today.
The investment company, which sold its Porsche sports-car brand to Volkswagen last year, is fighting market-manipulation allegations in three countries over a failed move to acquire VW, Europe’s biggest carmaker, more than four years ago. The 25 funds, which are seeking interest in addition to the damage claim, filed their lawsuit on April 30, Porsche said today.
The plaintiffs include Viking Global Equities LP, Glenhill Capital LP and David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Inc., Bernhard Schabel, a spokesman for the Stuttgart Regional Court said yesterday. Viking, Glenhill and Greenlight were among funds suing Porsche in New York state court over the carmaker’s use of options in the failed bid for Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW. Early this year, hedge funds agreed not to pursue further appeals in New York and Porsche granted them a 90-day period to sue in Germany instead.
Porsche said today that 24 of the 26 plaintiffs that have withdrawn from New York state court proceedings were involved in the April 30 Stuttgart legal filing, along with another unidentified company.
Porsche fell as much as 1.7 percent to 59.26 euros and was trading down 0.6 percent at 11:27 a.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has declined 2.9 percent this year, valuing the company at 18.4 million euros.
First-quarter net income, which comes entirely from Volkswagen, totaled 601 million euros, Porsche said today. Full-year profit at that level will be in the “low single-digit billion-euro range.” Net liquidity rose to 2.9 billion euros on March 31 from 2.56 billion euros at the end of last year because of tax refunds. The figure doesn’t include dividend payments from VW of 386 million euros for 2012 that was paid last month, it said.
Porsche has said it will use its cash to invest in mid-size companies related to the automotive industry and expand its assets beyond VW, currently its only operational business.