Porsche SE Seeks Investments Beyond VW Despite Dwindling Cash

  • Porsche-Piech family investment vehicle liquidity dropped 25%
  • Board changed course with more generous dividend proposal

Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the investment vehicle of the billionaire family that controls Volkswagen AG, stuck to a goal of making acquisitions beyond the beleaguered carmaker, even as its dwindling cash on hand reduces the scope of possible transactions.

Net liquidity fell 25 percent to 1.7 billion euros ($1.94 billion) last year and will probably drop further to between 1 billion euros and 1.5 billion euros by the end of 2016, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement Friday. Porsche SE said it expects profit this year to be between 1.4 billion euros and 2.4 billion euros.

The Porsche-Piech family investment vehicle’s only non-Volkswagen holding is a minority stake in traffic information provider Inrix Inc. purchased for $55 million in 2014. Last September, it paid a mid-triple-digit million-euro amount for a 1.5 percent stake in Volkswagen ordinary shares that had been held by Suzuki Motor Corp.

“Even if we do not yet have tangible results to show, the experience we have gained in the meantime is highly valuable for us and the Volkswagen group,” Chief Executive Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch, who is also chairman of Volkswagen, said in a speech prepared for a press and analyst conference.

Porsche SE’s supervisory board changed course on the holding’s dividend plan, proposing a more generous payout just days after a more austere proposal. The company will ask shareholders to approve a payout of 1.004 euros per ordinary share and 1.01 euros per preference share, a formality as the Porsche and Piech families control all voting stock. The payout will be about half of last year’s, but five times higher than what Porsche proposed on April 22.

Porsche SE’s share capital comprises 306.2 million shares divided equally into common stock and publicly traded preferred shares, which don’t carry voting rights.

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