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Peter Anderson | Jun, 27 2012 | 0 Comments

Volkswagen and Porsche Automobil Holding are aiming to quickly complete the sale of the remaining 50.1 percent of Porche's carmaking operations - the portion not already in Volkswagen's hands.

There is some resistance however in the German parliament.

The deal to speed the transaction is believed to exploit a legal loophole in the German tax system - and thus avoid a €1billion tax obligation - in classifying the transaction as a "restructure" rather than a "disposal".

It was tax and legal issues that in September last year caused the pair to cancel completion of the planned merger then.

But now, having perhaps found a way to complete the sale with greatly reduced obligations to the German taxpayer, VW and Porsche have faced a wave of criticism and political calls for the tax loophole to be closed.

The transaction is understood to hinge on the sale being completed by August 2014, with the mutual granting of options to complete the acquisition.

Porsche sold 49.9 percent of its sports car unit to VW in August 2009, and is expected to sell the rest for €4.5 billion (about A$5.62 billion) to settle debts and make new investments.

Porsche and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn justified the merger strategy, claiming that the tax paid on the merged carmakers' earnings will give a better return to German taxpayers.

“The state would benefit significantly through higher tax income," Winterkorn told Porsche's annual shareholder meeting.

Porsche and VW's merger plans include not only the sports car unit but the holding company itself, which is essentially an investment vehicle.

Sale of the Porsche Automobil company is expected to be ratified by shareholders, with the Porsche and Piech families controlling 90 percent of the stock. In turn, that company owns 50.7 percent of VW.

The companies are also facing a related legal battle of a different genesis. A number of key investors in Germany and the US are engaged in legal action against Porsche over its expensive failed attempt to swallow VW in 2009.

 
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