Volkswagen brands prepare to list as training exercise, Handelsblatt reports

BERLIN, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) brands are preparing for stock market listings as a training exercise, CEO Oliver Blume told the Handelsblatt newspaper on Tuesday, without commenting on whether further listings were planned.

Its listing of Porsche (P911_p.DE) last Thursday prompted speculation of further listings as a means of unlocking value in the Volkswagen Group, which executives view as strongly undervalued.

Unlisted brands include Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Skoda, Seat and Cupra.

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With the advice of a banking team, chief executives and financial officers at each brand were working on sharpening their focus with capital markets in mind, Blume said. The results of the exercise would be presented at a capital markets day next year.

“It should be understood like a training session,” Blume said. “Within the Volkswagen Group I sense a clear motivation to give capital markets a higher relevance.”

“I could certainly imagine the Volkswagen Group as a sort of holding for various listed companies. Done wisely, it could add significant value and improve competitiveness of the group and brands,” Arndt Ellinghorst, automotive expert at data firm QuantCo, said of Blume’s comments.

Porsche is already worth almost as much as its former parent, which Blume told Handelsblatt underlined the potential hidden value in the group.

Still, the Porsche listing has yet to benefit Volkswagen’s valuation, with shares in the group down around 10% in part because investors switched from the former parent to the sportscar brand.

Volkswagen’s Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said last week that assessing a listing of battery unit PowerCo was the next priority, brushing aside possible further brand listings.

The Porsche listing relied on factors like the support of the Porsche and Piech families controlling most of Volkswagen’s voting rights, which could not be guaranteed for other brands, said Tom Narayan of RBC, pointing to a listing of the battery or software divisions as the most likely next step.

Volkswagen shares were up to 130.62 euros at 0833 GMT from Friday’s closely in line with a broader rise in the European autos sector.

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Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, editing by Rachel More and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.