German car maker Volkswagen AG expects to take an initial stake in fellow automaker Porsche AG as soon as next week, VW's chief executive said Thursday.
The company was holding an extraordinary shareholder meeting in Hamburg to get approval to issue more shares to raise cash to buy an initial 49.9 percent stake in Porsche, valued at euro 3.9 billion ($5.9 billion).
Martin Winterkorn, the company's chief executive, said at the shareholder meeting Thursday that the purchase will go ahead "likely next week." VW has said it hopes to take over the carmaker in full in 2011.
Winterkorn asked shareholders to support the plans, which could see the issue of 135 million new preferred, but nonvoting shares, over the next five years.
"We will secure growth potential, achieve considerable synergies and therewith, lower costs," he said. Acquiring Porsche could add about euro700 million to the annual operating profit of VW, he added.
Winterkorn said VW was going into 2010 "with careful optimism."
VW is planning to bring 60 new or updated models to the global market in the near term, largely in the premium segment.
That means Audi and Porsche should see an "enormous increase" in their businesses when the economy improves, Winterkorn said.
VW's brands also include Seat, Skoda, Bentley and Lamborghini. It is also a major shareholder in two of Europe's biggest truck makers, MAN SE of Germany and Scania AB of Sweden.
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