German court defers Porsche investor lawsuits until Oct. 30

BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany, April 17 Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:26am EDT

BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany, April 17 (Reuters) - A German court on Wednesday deferred until October investor lawsuits seeking 2.15 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in damages from Porsche SE .

Presiding judge Stefan Puhle said the lawsuits due to be heard at the court in the northern German city of Braunschweig on Wednesday will be postponed until Oct. 30 after the lawyer for the plaintiffs fell ill.

Puhle also said that the Braunschweig court will decide on June 19 whether a third case seeking 2 billion euros in damages will be assigned to a court specialising on cartel matters.

Some German and U.S. investors say that throughout 2008 Porsche's holding company camouflaged its plans to acquire much-bigger Volkswagen (VW) and instead secretly piled up its holding in Europe's largest automaker.

In March 2008 Porsche SE dismissed as "speculation" talk that it intended to take over VW. Seven months later Porsche SE said it controlled 42.6 percent of VW's common shares and held options for another 31.5 percent of the stock it had not disclosed previously.

Porsche's statement caused VW shares to surge to 1,005 euros within days, briefly making the Wolfsburg-based carmaker the world's most valuable company as short-sellers raced to buy back stock they had borrowed to bet that VW shares would drop.