Porsche's ultimate goal of owning 100 percent of mass car maker Volkswagen has
suffered a bit of a blow after German Judge Reinhard Saathoff refused
to strike down some rules in VW's charter that protect the voting
rights of the state of Lower Saxony, which owns 20.1 percent of VW. The
rule targeted by Porsche allows shareholders with at least 20 percent
of shares in VW to be able to overturn major company decisions.
Speculation is varied as to why Porsche desires a block on Lower
Saxony's voting rights, and one of the theories evolves around
Porsche's wish to limit union power at VW. On the other hand, the
federal government is fully supportive of this law, which both it and
the unions see as some sort of guarantee of job safety at VW.
Porsche's claim stems from a ruling by the European Union court on a
German law court which had similar standards on voting rights.
"The VW law and the charter aren't the same and we cannot treat them
the same," Saathoff said at a hearing. "If Porsche would interpret a
ruling of my court as it did interpret the EU court ruling, I would be
The sports car maker says it currently owns 74.1 percent of
Volkswagen which is made up of shares and options. It however,
recognises that a 50 percent full ownership in the least, of VW is
highly unlikely to happen this year and is eyeing 2009 as the year in
which to increase its stake to 75 percent.
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