October 24, 2018 / 11:26 AM / 10 months ago

German court orders top VW investor to pay damages for disclosure violations

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German court on Wednesday ordered Porsche Automobil Holding SE (PSHG_p.DE) to pay shareholders 47.2 million euros ($53.8 million) in compensation for violating disclosure rules over an emissions scandal at its main investment Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

FILE PHOTO - People are silhouetted at the Porsche annual meeting in Stuttgard, Germany, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Shareholders who held Porsche SE stock between May 23, 2014, and Sept. 22, 2015, were entitled to be compensated for the share price declines caused by Volkswagen’s (VW) cheating of U.S. diesel emissions tests, the Stuttgart court said.

Porsche SE, which holds a 30.8 percent stake in VW and 52 percent of voting rights at the carmaker, said it would appeal the ruling and that it was confident a higher court would overturn the lower court’s findings.

“Porsche SE is convinced that the lawsuits are without merit,” it said.

Porsche SE shareholders sued the company for failing to inform its investors in a timely manner about VW’s diesel emissions cheating, which has cost the automaker more than 27 billion euros in fines and vehicle refits.

At the time U.S. regulators caught VW using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests, the carmaker was headed by Martin Winterkorn, who was also CEO of Porsche SE.

Law firm Nieding & Barth said the pension fund for the city of Wolverhampton in central England was awarded 3.2 million euros in damages by the Stuttgart court.

Law firm TILP said Porsche SE was asked to pay 44 million euros to other shareholders.

The verdict is not enforceable yet, given Porsche SE’s right to appeal, TILP said.

VW is also being sued by investors for allegedly breaching disclosure violations, which the company denies.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter

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