German carmaker Volkswagen has confirmed that its Audi subsidiary has bought Italian motorcycle producer Ducati for an undisclosed price. Analysts are uncertain how much VW will profit from the deal.
Germany's Volkswagen Group on Thursday officially announced its acquisition of Italian motorcycle maker Ducati at its annual shareholder meeting in Hamburg. No purchase price was given for the takeover, but earlier media reports spoke of approximately 860 million euros ($1.12 billion).
Ducati is to go to VW's subsidiary Audi, which also owns Italian car legend Lamborghini.
"The transaction will be completed as quickly as possible once authorized by the competition authorities," Audi said in a statement. The company added it would benefit greatly from Ducati's extensive know-how in lightweight construction.
Unlike its German rival BMW, VW had not previously owned a motorcycle brand. Ducati has production facilities at its headquarters in Bologna, Italy, and in Thailand. Last year, the motorcycle maker sold around 42,000 units to generate revenues reaching 480 million euros.
Analysts maintained that the purchase of Ducati was a dream of Ferdinand Piech, the former VW chief executive. They questioned the move, saying it was hard to make motorcycle production profitable amid shrinking demand in Europe.
But in the opinion of David McAllister, the premier of the German state Lower Saxony where Volkswagen is located, the Ducati acquisition provides VW and Audi with an excellent opportunity to open up new markets, particularly in Asia where motorcycle demand has been on the rise.
Audi Chief Rupert Stadler admitted on Thursday that he didn't own a driving license for motorcycles, but said he was willing to rectify the situation.
hg/sms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)