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Volkswagen well-positioned to fund electrification, keeps outlook -CFO

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FRANKFURT — Volkswagen is well-positioned to fund its electrification strategy, its finance chief said on Thursday, as it reaped around 9.6 billion euros ($9.30 billion) from the IPO of Porsche and with a possible listing of its battery unit on the cards.

The carmaker was sticking to its outlook of reaching the higher end of a 7-8.5% operating profit margin this year, Arno Antlitz told Reuters, even as energy prices, logistics bottlenecks and inflation boost its costs.

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It would carry on passing on higher prices to customers while also attempting to reduce fixed costs in-house.

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“The aim is to reduce costs and still offer affordable cars for Volkswagen,” Antlitz said, speaking outside the Frankfurt stock exchange following the listing of Volkswagen’s sportscar brand Porsche.

Volkswagen raised around 19.5 billion euros in proceeds from the Porsche listing, with 49% to go to shareholders as a special dividend at the end of the year.

The carmaker had justified the listing, taking place against a backdrop of volatile markets in Europe, in part as a means to raise funds towards its 52 billion euro electrification plans.

“We are well set-up financially have strong cash flows to fund our electromobility strategy ourselves,” the chief financial officer said.

The shortage of chips which has plagued the industry since the start of the coronavirus pandemic was still the main supply chain problem it faced and will likely carry into 2024.

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The carmaker was considering forming partnerships in the next 1-2 years as a step towards a possible listing of its PowerCo batteries operation, he said.

“We do not rule out an IPO of the battery unit, but the financial flexibility we won today allows us to further strengthen our work in batteries alone. Then we will consider adding strategic partners later on,” Antlitz told Reuters.

Antlitz brushed aside rumors that Thursday’s Porsche listing could lead to a listing of Audi, another premium brand and huge moneymaker for Volkswagen.

“The next project is strategic partnerships or a potential IPO of the battery unit – I can’t say more for now,” he said.

Volkswagen has set aside 20 billion euros ($20.38 billion) for investment in its battery cell business, with the PowerCo unit managing its battery production and research from mining to recycling and projects including energy storage systems.

Former CEO Herbert Diess floated the idea of a listing in May last year as a means of funding the carmaker’s battery expansion plans.

($1 = 1.0319 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee and Emma-Victoria Farr; writing by Victoria Waldersee, Matthias Williams; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)

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