DUBAI, (Reuters) – Qatar expects to reveal the outcome of talks on buying a stake in German luxury carmaker Porsche in two weeks, the country’s prime minister said in remarks published on Wednesday.
“We are still discussing the stake. According to the legal agreement between the two parties, neither of them is allowed to disclose any information about it before it is sealed,” the Gulf Times quoted Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani as saying.
A majority of members in the Porsche and Piech families which control Porsche back a deal for Qatar to acquire a 25 percent stake in the German firm, Der Spiegel magazine said earlier this month.
Ferdinand Piech, a co-owner of Porsche, is resisting a quick decision to let the Qatar take a minority stake in the group, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Wednesday.
A deal between Qatar and the families would pave the way for them to give up control of their business and trim the German automotive holding’s debt, bolstering its chance for a merger with Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker.
Qatar’s interest in Porsche highlights the increasing role of Arab states in German carmakers after Abu Dhabi’s state-owned IPIC bought a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler in March, making it the largest shareholder after Kuwait.
Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds and investment companies, which suffered losses from investments in companies such as Citigroup, are eyeing new ventures as they look for bargains and ways to get returns on their oil income.
Sheikh Hamad said the Qatar Investment Authority made a profit of between $7 billion and $8 billion in the first quarter of 2009.
“It is not true that our investments are only in the euro zone. We have some in Asia,” the paper reported Sheikh Hamad as saying.
Sheikh Hamad also said depreciation in Qatar’s overseas assets due to the financial turmoil resulted in a loss of about $4 billion in 2008, the paper reported.
Qatar’s fund, which also has stakes in Credit Suisse, also remained a long-term investor in Britain’s Barclays; the prime minister was quoted as saying.
His remarks come after IPIC sold more than 11 percent of Barclays, making $2.5 billion from an investment that helped the British bank through the financial crisis.