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Business

Porsche cleared of market manipulation

A German court has rejected claims for damages against German sports carmaker Porsche resulting from its failed bid to take over Volkswagen. The ruling was the first in a raft of lawsuits for billions in damages.

The district court in Braunschweig turned down two damages claims for 3.1 million euros ($4.05 million) and 1.5 million euros respectively on Wednesday, following Porsche's argument that the investors' losses were the result of "normal financial market risks."

The plaintiffs had claimed the management of the German sports car manufacturer had "misinformed" them about plans to take over much bigger German car group Volkswagen (VW) in 2008, "enticing" them into buying shares in Volkswagen.

In 2008, Stuttgart-based Porsche staged a hostile takeover bid to acquire VW, in the course of which VW share prices fluctuated wildly, luring many speculators into making an investment.

However, Porsche's bid failed miserably, resulting finally in the sports carmaker itself being taken over by Volkwagen last month.

Porsche board director Matthias Müller told Reuters news agency the court ruling was "gratifying." Later on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the company said that Porsche would fight any "unjustified claims with all means at its disposal."

In the court in Braunschweig alone, Porsche is facing additional claims for damages to the tune of 4 billion euros; it stands accused of manipulating stock markets and breaching the trust of investors.

uhe/sej (Reuters, AFP, dapd)