Qatar eyes a Porsche stake

PORSCHE is in advanced talks with the Gulf state of Qatar about selling a substantial stake which could ease the debt-laden carmaker&rsquo;s problems and give it the upper hand in its ongoing negotiations with Volkswagen (VW).<br /><br />Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche&rsquo;s chief executive, is in negotiations which could see the Quatar Investment Authority (QIA) take a stake of as much as 25 per cent in Porsche Automibil Holding.<br /><br />If the QIAdoes take a stake, it could boost Porsche&rsquo;s chances of launching a takeover of VW. <br /><br />Porsche has been collecting cash-settled options in VW for over three years. It also has a 51 per cent holding in the company, giving Porsche a total of 70 per cent ownership of VW.<br /><br />Yesterday, VW&rsquo;s chairman, Ferdinand Piech, also said he would be willing to consider an investment from the QIA. <br /><br />Piech is locked in a struggle for control of VW against his cousin Wolfgang Porsche, who chairs the holding company that owns Porsche&rsquo;s sports car business and 51 per cent of VW&rsquo;s ordinary shares.<br /><br />It is understood Qatar is also considering investing in VW directly by buying VW voting stock held by Porsche&rsquo;s derivative trading partners.<br /><br />VW said it would support investment from Qatar. VW said: &ldquo;In principle we view this positively.&rdquo; <br /><br />Meanwhile, BMW said yesterday it had sold 109,042 vehicles last month, down 18.3 per cent from the same month last year. In April, the carmaker reported a 24 per cent year-on-year decline. <br /><br />Carmaker Audi also reported a fall in sales in May of six per cent to 82,800 vehicles.