Norwegian fund renews its attack on Vw’s planned takeover of Porsche

Article by Andrew Christian, on August 25, 2010

Despite analysts' warnings that nothing will come of its protests, Norway's state fund -- Norges Bank Investment Management -- renewed its attack on Volkswagen AG's impending takeover of parts of Porsche Automobil Holding SE. Norway's $420 billion wealth fund, one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds (SWF) worldwide, is a VW investor.

The state fund referred to VW's plan as "costly and opaque" and stated that it would be taking a more activist approach to shareholdings in its portfolio.

Anna Kvam, head of corporate governance at Norway 's state fund, said that it intends to uplift the rights of minority shareholders and raise standards of corporate governance and sustainability in the firms it owns.

The state fund's move is not without its share of detractors. Some analysts cautioned investors that want to oppose VW that it is a partially state-owned entity with strong unions.

Hence, VW is operating under laws that shield the company from unwanted pressures. UniCredit analyst Christian Aust said that since VW has a shareholder structure with clear majorities, there's nothing the investors can do to effect any change.

Commerzbank's Daniel Schwarz has the same opinion, saying that if the takeover is done legally, minority investors will find it "very difficult" to change any aspect of the deal.

Topics: vw, porsche, norway, takeover

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