UPDATE 1-Porsche optimistic over outcome of investor lawsuits

Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:16pm EDT

* Porsche says 12 appeals in United States withdrawn

* The 12 had wanted to reverse a lower court ruling (Adds Porsche statement)

LEIPZIG, Germany, April 30 (Reuters) - Porsche SE expects to succeed in its fight against legal claims seeking billions of euros in damages over the German company's botched 2008-2009 takeover of Volkswagen.

"We are optimistic regarding the outcome of the proceedings," Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of Porsche SE and Volkswagen, said on Tuesday at the holding company's annual general meeting.

There were originally 46 hedge funds who were seeking damages totalling more than $2.5 billion but a New York court in 2010 had dismissed the cases.

Of the 46, 32 had filed an appeal to overturn the ruling but in March this year 12 withdrew their appeal.

Porsche said on Tuesday that 12 out of the total remaining 20 had withdrawn appeals they had filed with the U.S. court in New York. The 12 had sought to reverse a lower court's decision to dismiss the lawsuits.

The claims follow events in 2008 when Porsche SE had dismissed as "speculation" talk that it intended to take over Volkswagen. Seven months later Porsche SE said it controlled 42.6 percent of Volkswagen's common shares and held options for another 31.5 percent of the stock it had not disclosed previously.

Porsche's statement caused Volkswagen 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 the shares would drop.

In Germany, planned hearings of three lawsuits seeking more than 4 billion euros ($5.27 billion) in damages related to the takeover attempt were postponed by a German court on April 17.

Two other lawsuits were postponed until Oct. 30 after the lawyer for the plaintiffs fell ill. ($1 = 0.7634 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer and Marilyn Gerlach; editing by Harro ten Wolde and Jane Merriman)

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