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Porsche IPO only off the table if severe geopolitical problems arise, CFO says

BERLIN (Reuters) -Porsche will only backtrack on its stock market debut in the event of severe geopolitical problems that would make the importance of a listing fade in comparison, the sportscar brand’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

“You never know what will happen regarding geopolitical issues, but if a potential IPO would be stopped now, we are talking about severe problems,” Lutz Meschke said on a media call.

“By then a potential IPO would not be a real issue,” he added.

Volkswagen triggered a listing of sportscar brand Porsche late on Monday after months of deliberation, but cautioned the move was still subject to developments in capital markets.

Some investors criticised the timing for a stock market debut, with European shares on a downward spiral, inflation at record highs and Russia halting gas supply to Europe through the main Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

In a media call on Tuesday morning, Chief Executive Oliver Blume said the listing could break the ice for capital markets starved of potential investments.

“There is a lot of capital in the market,” Blume said. “We think the Porsche IPO could be an icebreaker.

Volkswagen CFO and COO Arno Antlitz echoed Blume’s confidence in an earlier media call, adding that the carmaker hoped the listing would give it more flexibility in deciding when to list its battery division, which it said in December it was readying for a partial sale.

The separation of the two companies via a listing would also simplify Blume’s double role as chief executive of Volkswagen and Porsche, Blume said, though they would still cooperate on projects where scale effects apply.

Asked how situations where conflicts of interest could arise for Blume would be dealt with, the CEO said that Porsche’s executive board would have the authority to make decisions “100% on its own”.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Editing by Miranda Murray and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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