In a report to appear Monday, the German magazine Der Spiegel will write that “several law firms are compiling material for lawsuits to hold Porsche liable. They are working for hedge funds which had lost billions of Euros.” That’s news to Porsche CFO Holger Härter. He says he hasn’t heard of anybody who wants revenge or restitution. “I don’t even know who might have been hurt.” On Sunday, FAZ will publish an interview with Härter. First question: “When will the hedge fund called Porsche close its sheet metal factory?” Härter’s answer: “Our core business is and remains the automobile.” Everybody knows: not true. Porsche made more profits than sales in the last fiscal year. Of €8.6b in profits, only €1b were generated in that sheet metal factory. €7.6b were generated with derivatives. That was in the last fiscal year, which ended July 31. God, Härter and Wiedeking only know how much the Porsche hedge fund generated in the months thereafter, when the VW stock went wilder than girls at Mardi Gras. Härter now says they didn’t really mean it. Here is Härter’s version:
When Porsche started to think about taking an interest in Volkswagen, Härter says, they did the same any prudent businessman would do: hedge a little. Take out some insurance against, god forbid, a rising VW stock. At that time, the VW stock traded at around €30– pretty much the same level as it did for many, many years before. Shortly after Porsche innocently took out insurance, the VW stock started to inexplicably climb. It doubled in 2006. Doubled again in 2007. It shot up to over €1000 in October.
Praise the Lord for insurance! Härter claims he doesn’t like these high stock prices at all. “If the stock would have stayed at the old levels, we would have had to pay much less taxes than now.” Yes, profits can be such a bear when the taxman cometh. Everybody will have sympathy.
While lawyers are sorting their paperwork, Härter is already preparing his defense. Härter to the FAZ: “These accusations are totally without merit. We deny any responsibility. We observed the law. We duped nobody.” We’ll see how that plays in court.