Porsche family members discuss future of firm ahead of July 23 meeting

Members of the rival families that own the German car firm Porsche met in the Austrian city of Salzburg today to discuss the future of the beleaguered car company. The meeting came in the wake of reports that the gulf emirate of Qatar was interested in taking a stake in the luxury carmaker. 

The meeting, it is believed, would set the stage for an extraordinary meeting of the firm's supervisory board scheduled for 23 July. Though it is not clear what was discussed in the meeting, the Qatar bid would have surely figured high on the agenda, according to sources.

The state-run Qatar Investment Authority has reportedly offered seven billion euros for a 25-per cent stake in Porsche Holding SE and options on Porsche's Volkswagen stake, which would inject much needed cash into the company. Porsche racked up €9 billion in debt in its attempt to increase stake in Volkwagen last year. The luxury carmaker did succeed in cornering the bulk of Volkswagen shares, but failed to gain control of the Wolfsburg-based company.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Volkswagen has increased its bid to more than

€4 billion for a 49 per cent stake in Porsche's sports car operations. Volkswagen's earlier offer of €3-4 billion had been rejected by Porsche for not being a ''practical solution.''

According to analysts, the head of Volkswagen's supervisory board and a major shareholder in Porsche, Ferdinand Piech, is the one person who could stand in the way of a deal with Qatar.
A deal with Volkswagen would benefit Piech, while the Qatari bid would clear a huge portion of the company's debt and strengthen the position of Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO Porsche, who stands opposed to Piech's plan to integrate Porsche into Volkswagen.

According to a Porsche spokesperson, the company remained committed to its goal of creating an integrated group with Volkswagen.