Volkswagen set to raise £4bn

David Hellier
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GERMAN car giant Volkswagen (VW) is issuing 65m new preferred shares, or roughly half of its authorised capital, in a stock offering worth around £4.04bn.

Europe’s largest carmaker said yesterday that the pre-placement of the non-voting stock had already begun for institutional investors. Subscriptions for the new shares are expected to run from 31 March to 13 April.

Shares in VW dropped fast, trading 4.7 per cent lower at €69.50 on the back of the news, although VW had flagged as early as December its plans for a placement in the first half of this year.

Finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch said this month he expected to raise about £4bn in fresh equity in order to protect its credit ratings and replace funds used to buy half of Porsche’s sports car business at the end of last year.

“There’s been some sizeable interest in this deal,” said a source close to the transaction.

The offer is open to European and US investors. It is not being mixed with a bond issue, as some expected.

Major shareholders including Porsche SE, VW’s home state of Lower Saxony and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund have all agreed to assign and transfer their subscription rights to the syndicate banks, VW said.

Global coordinators on the deal are BoA Merrill Lynch, which is joint global coordinator and joint bookrunner, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.


THE Merrill team on the VW issue is headed by Craig Coben, who joined the bank in 2005 and is now head of equity capital markets for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Coben, who is joined on this deal by Stefan Albrecht and Oliver Holborn, has led some of the most important and innovative equity and equity-linked offerings in EMEA in recent years, including jumbo capital-raisings for Nordea, Aegon, AP Møller Maersk, Swedbank, Infineon, Alpha Bank and PKO BP in 2009 alone.

He has worked on jumbo privatisations for France Telecom, Brisa Auto-estradas de Portugal, EADS, Petrol Offisi, Hellenic Telecom, GALP and Israeli Oil Refineries Limited, as well as significant IPOs and convertible and exchangeable bond offerings in over a dozen jurisdictions.

Coben graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School in the US before practising law until 1997.

Coben is active in a wide range of public service activities and serves on the board of govenors of Tower Hamlets College.