FRANKFURT Porsche SE (PSHG_p.DE) has found a way to sell the remaining 50.1 percent of its sports car unit to Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) without paying an estimated 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in tax, business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported on Saturday.
The magazine said tax authorities had concluded the deal was legally a restructuring and not a disposal that would involve tax payments.
That was because Porsche would receive a single voting share in Volkswagen as part of the 4.5 billion euro transaction, it added.
Citing sources in the state finance ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the magazine said the tax office in Stuttgart had given Porsche SE a legally binding notice, promising it would not have to pay a cent to the state.
No one was immediately available for comment from the tax office, and the finance ministry declined to discuss individual cases on Saturday.
A spokesman for Porsche said it had not yet completed an examination of the tax implications of the deal. Porsche SE is headquartered in Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg state.
In the past, Porsche SE had said it would have to wait until 2014 to sell the remaining stake tax-free.
Volkswagen acquired 49.9 percent of Porsche sports cars for 3.9 billion euros in December 2009 as part of a deal that prevented the likely insolvency of debt-laden parent Porsche SE.
A spokesman for Volkswagen said it was continuing to review what options it had to integrate the two companies beyond the outright purchase of the sports car business via put or call options.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Andrew Heavens)