CEO says Volkswagen on solid footing as shareholders meet over special dividend

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BERLIN — Volkswagen shareholders gathered in Berlin on Friday to vote at an extraordinary general meeting on the payout of a special dividend of 19.06 euros ($20.28) per share from the proceeds of the listing of Porsche AG.

A total of 9.6 billion euros, or 49% of the proceeds of the listing, will be paid out in January if shareholders vote in favor, as is widely expected.

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In an opening speech, Chief Executive Oliver Blume said the Volkswagen Group was on solid footing, with his first hundred days spent on tasks including reshuffling senior roles, defining the carmaker’s strategy for China and North America, and revising its software and platform strategy.

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“We are working on a globally balanced presence – in Europe, China and a strong third leg of North America,” Blume said, pointing to the need to diversify in light of geopolitical tensions.

A decision on the location of a planned battery plant in Eastern Europe, expected this year but which the carmaker said last week was


, would come “soon,” Blume said.

In a speech published ahead of the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said the rise in the valuation of Porsche AG on the stock market since the listing proved the luxury carmaker’s worth but that Volkswagen’s potential must also now be proven to markets.

“Making the real value of Porsche visible was important. But through this it has also become clear that the current valuation of Volkswagen is imbalanced. We want to change that.”

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Volkswagen shareholder DWS, which holds around 2% of the carmaker’s stock, according to Eikon data, pointed to the governance issues they and other investors highlighted ahead of the listing, including Oliver Blume’s dual role as chief executive of Porsche AG and Volkswagen, as factors dragging down the carmaker’s valuation.

Porsche shares have risen 18.5% to 97.74 euros per share since opening at 82.50 on September 29, while Volkswagen shares have risen 3.9% to 133.56 euros in the same period.

($1 = 0.9398 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Jan Schwartz; editing by Rachel More and Jason Neely)



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