ST PETERSBURG, (Reuters) – The Gulf state of Qatar is still considering taking a stake in Germany’s Porsche, its finance minister told Reuters on Thursday.
“Our government is interested in acquiring a stake in Porsche. When and how much, I don’t know. We are always looking for opportunities in the car market,” Youssef Kamal said on the sidelines of a conference in Russia.
Qatar’s prime minister had told Reuters on May 30 that Qatar was considering taking a stake in debt-laden Porsche or other German auto companies after Porsche scaled down a bid for Volkswagen.
Porsche, which holds nearly 51 percent of VW’s voting stock, was forced in May to drop an attempt to seize full control of Volkswagen and instead seek a merger with Europe’s biggest carmaker.
Porsche’s 9 billion euros ($12.75 billion) in net debt built up for a VW takeover before car markets collapsed have made its finances a focal point of attempts to strike a deal.
The Emir of Qatar first expressed an interest in investing in the German auto industry in a March interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. Qatari state media said in late April Qatar was looking at German carmakers.
The premier of the German state of Lower Saxony, which has 20 percent voting rights in Volkswagen, said in May the state was open to an Arab investor taking a stake in Volkswagen. Lower Saxony is the second-biggest shareholder behind Porsche.
Qatar’s interest comes on the heels of Abu Dhabi’s state-controlled IPIC purchase of a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler for almost 2 billion euros via exchange-listed investment vehicle Aabar.