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Porsche shares advance as VW considers Mueller to run sports-car maker

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Porsche shares advance as VW considers Mueller to run sports-car maker

Automotive News Europe -- June 22, 2010 06:01 CET

BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Porsche SE shares rose to their highest level in five weeks as Volkswagen AG considers naming its chief product strategist Matthias Mueller to run the sports-car maker.

Mueller's move would be part of a bigger reshuffling in which current Porsche CEO Michael Macht would become the VW group's production head, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

Volkswagen and Porsche are discussing their future model strategy as they seek to complete a merger next year. Porsche plans to expand its offerings to reach a target of doubling deliveries to 150,000 vehicles in the medium term.

“This would be a good move,” said Aleksej Wunrau, an analyst at ING BHF-Bank AG in Frankfurt. “Volkswagen needs a cost-efficient strategy for its luxury brands Audi, Porsche and Bentley and Macht is obviously seen as capable of delivering it.”

Porsche increased as much as 6.1 percent to 37.19 euros in Frankfurt on Monday, the highest level since May 19. The stock traded 5.1 percent higher at 36.84 euros as of 4:53 p.m.

The 49-year-old Macht is Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn's choice to replace Jochem Heizmann because of his decade-long experience in running production at Porsche before he was named to head the sports-car maker a year ago, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

Mueller is the frontrunner to succeed Macht as CEO of Porsche's carmaking operations, the people said, adding that a final decision on the changes hasn't been made. Porsche SE, the sports-car maker's holding company, improved its full-year forecast last week after sales beat analysts' estimates as the new Panamera sedan attracted buyers. Volkswagen spokesman Stefan Ohletz declined to comment, as did Porsche's Albrecht Bamler.

Heizmann, a member of VW's executive board since February 2007, will take on a new role tightening cooperation between truckmakers Scania AB and MAN SE, two people familiar with the matter said in April.

VW exec could replace Porsche's Duerheimer

Other management changes being discussed involve Porsche's development chief, Wolfgang Duerheimer, who might be replaced by Wolfgang Hatz, head of engine development at Volkswagen, one of the people said.

Porsche improved its full-year forecast on June 18, saying the loss for the year ending July 31 will be less than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). That compares with a “low single-digit” billion-euro loss predicted on March 17. Nine-month sales rose 12 percent to 5.2 billion euros.

Commerzbank AG, Germany's second-biggest bank, raised Porsche to “hold“ from “reduce” today, citing “solid” results and a capital increase of about 5 billion euros in the first half of 2011.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100622/ANE/100629990/1317#ixzz0rajL0uMT

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