STUTTGART, Germany Indebted holding company Porsche SE is grappling to attract investors even if its planned merger with Volkswagen fails -- an option that now looks increasingly likely.
"We cannot say with certainty which approach Porsche SE will take," finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch, who is also Volkswagen's CFO, said on Thursday,
He signaled that there was now a higher likelihood that Volkswagen will simply exercise an option to take control of the shares of lucrative sports car maker Porsche AG it does not already own without combining with Porsche SE first.
Poetsch said Porsche SE wants to be an attractive investment itself and will tempt shareholders subscribing to its 5 billion euro ($6.97 billion) capital increase with a payout in June already, since the new shares will have full dividend rights to its shortened fiscal year that ended in December.
The proposal will be presented to shareholders with the invitation to the June 17 shareholders meeting at the latest, a spokesman for Porsche said.
Poetsch also forecast a profitable year, excluding any one-off effects including possible writedowns on its put and call options connected to its 50.1 percent stake in Porsche AG.
Legal and tax uncertainties have reduced the probability of the merger with Volkswagen this year to just about 50 percent, Porsche SE said last month.
"We can underscore that Porsche SE's executive board assumes that it will be possible to successfully clarify the current uncertainties and that the merger will be able to go ahead, even if this is after 2011," Poetsch said on Thursday.
"We know that we have the backing of important parties involved: Volkswagen, Porsche, the Porsche and Piech families as well as the employee representatives of both companies."
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner)