Porsche races higher after landmark $72b listing

Shares priced at top of indicated range; Biggest listing in Germany since 1996; Shares rise 3% despite weaker stock markets; IPO unlikely to reopen frozen markets



Oliver Blume (right), CEO of German car producer Porsche AG, and Lutz Meschke, member of the Porsche management board, ring the bell to launch the company's initial public offering (IPO) at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, on September 29, 2022. Luxury sports carmaker Porsche raced onto the Frankfurt stock exchange with one of Europe's biggest listings in years, leveraging its brand power to defy global market turmoil. — AFP
Oliver Blume (right), CEO of German car producer Porsche AG, and Lutz Meschke, member of the Porsche management board, ring the bell to launch the company's initial public offering (IPO) at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, on September 29, 2022. Luxury sports carmaker Porsche raced onto the Frankfurt stock exchange with one of Europe's biggest listings in years, leveraging its brand power to defy global market turmoil. — AFP
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 5:09 PM

Porsche AG shares made a strong start on Thursday after Volkswagen defied volatile markets to list the sports car brand at a valuation of 75 billion euros ($72 billion) in Germany’s second-biggest market debut.

Volkswagen priced Porsche AG shares at the top end of the indicated range and raised 19.5 billion euros from the flotation to fund the group’s electrification drive. By 1035GMT Porsche AG stock was trading 3% up from the issue price of 82.50 euros.

That lifted Porsche AG’s valuation to 77.4 billion euros, close to the market capitalisation of Volkswagen as a whole, which is worth about 80.1 billion euros, and ahead of rivals such as Ferrari. It is Germany’s biggest listing since Deutsche Telekom in 1996.

Oliver Blume, in a Reuters interview, brushed aside concerns about his dual role as CEO of both Porsche AG and Volkswagen, saying the decision was made “very consciously”.

Porsche AG’s strong start came despite broadly weaker stock markets after red-hot German inflation data. Shares in Volkswagen and holding company Porsche SE, which owns a blocking minority in Porsche AG, were down 4.6 per cent and eight per cent, respectively, as investors switched across.

“This is not exactly a dream environment for an IPO today,” said QC Partners wealth manager Thomas Altmann.

Porsche’s flotation comes at a time when European listings face their worst year since 2009, with investors fretting about a possible global recession against a backdrop of soaring inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine.

Porsche is a one-off icebreaker for the IPO market, which will freeze over again very soon, said one banker involved in the transaction.

Companies in the region have raised $44 billion from equity capital markets deals up to September 27, Refinitiv data shows, with only $4.5 billion from initial public offerings.

“There’s a lot to like about the company, with its aggressive electrification plans, expected strong cashflow generation and premium brand positioning in the market,” Chi Chan, Portfolio Manager European Equities at Federated Hermes Limited, told Reuters.

“However, it is coming to market at a time of unprecedented turmoil and consumer confidence is falling.”

Despite the euphoria surrounding the Porsche IPO, it will remain tricky for further listings, said Malte Hopp, head of Equity Capital Markets (ECM) for Germany and Austria at Citi.

Porsche AG Chief Executive Blume, whose dual role as the new head of Volkswagen has drawn criticism from some investors, hailed the listing as an “historic moment” as he hugged colleagues and rang the bell on a packed Frankfurt stock exchange trading floor.

Volkswagen has said the market’s volatility was precisely why fund managers were sorely in need of a stable and profitable business like Porsche AG in which to invest.

“Porsche was and is the pearl in the Volkswagen Group,” said Chris-Oliver Schickentanz, chief investment officer at fund manager Capitell.

“The IPO has now made it very, very transparent what value the market brings to Porsche.”

Faced with costs in the tens of billions for software and a radical shift towards electric mobility, Volkswagen executives had long considered listing Porsche, a move executives hoped would raise much-needed funds and lift Volkswagen’s own value.

The Porsche and Piech families, whose holding company Porsche SE controls Volkswagen, will in turn solidify their control over Porsche AG because they will own 25 per cent plus one ordinary share — carrying voting rights — in the sports car brand.

Up to 113,875,000 Porsche AG preferred shares, carrying no voting rights, were sold in the initial public offering.

Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan worked as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners on the deal, while Mediobanca acted as financial adviser to Porsche. — Reuters


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