• Feb 20th 2009 at 5:02PM
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Some analysts are wondering if Porsche isn't running itself more like the Blackstone Group than as an automaker. The option trades it used last year to take control of Volkswagen netted the German automaker €6.8 billion. The business of selling cars netted Porsche just €1 billion over the same period. And that's not all: Porsche made an additional €392 million trading shares in other companies on the German exchange.
This has industry watchers trying to figure out how Porsche is looking to make its money, especially considering that its total stock exposure is €31 billion. Even though Porsche has valued its stake in VW at less than half the current value of VW shares, the concern is that VW shares are overvalued and another industry jolt could drive them below the price Porsche paid. And that has people wondering whether the ensuing writedown would cause the controlling Porsche and Piech familes to lose control of the company or inject personal funds to prop it up.

Beyond those hypothetical concerns, Porsche has the real challenge of refinancing a debt that currently comes due at the end of March. With severely reduced cash flow from actually selling cars, Porsche might be looking at unconventional measures, or even the trading floor, to help it out. But after making jokes at the opening of the Porsche Museum that went 100% over budget, if Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is nervous about the company's financials, you'd never know it.

[Source: Financial Times]

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