Porsche CEO Oliver Blume signaled that he would be open to considering an initial public offering of the German sports-car maker if parent Volkswagen Group decides to pursue one.
"I think Porsche could be an interesting part for thinking about an IPO," Blume said during a briefing with U.S. reporters, cautioning that a final decision will not be his to make. "We have to hand it to Volkswagen and they have nothing decided."
Listing Porsche has long been touted as a way to bolster VW's stock-market valuation and help it catch up to the likes of Toyota or Tesla. Faced with tens of billions of costs for a radical shift towards electric mobility and software, VW is speaking with advisers to study the merits of a potential listing of Porsche, reports said last month.
VW Group CEO Herbert Diess seemed to pour cold water on the idea when he said the automaker has no "immediate need" to raise funds for its costly push into electric cars, batteries and software. The German group, which owns 12 automotive brands, generates ample cash to pay for the transition, he said.
Porsche has been VW's shining light during the pandemic. The brand’s deliveries dipped just 3 percent last year, thanks to robust demand in China, its largest market.
That helped the Stuttgart-based manufacturer maintain a double-digit profit margin when many mass-market automakers suffered a dramatic downturn. Porsche contributed 42 percent to VW Group's operating profit in 2020.
Porsche Chief Financial Offier Lutz Meschke first raised the benefits of a potential IPO in 2018, saying such a move could unlock value and replicate Ferrari's successful share sale years earlier. Meschke said at the time that Porsche could be worth up to 70 billion euros ($83 billion) in such a scenario.
The deliberations didn’t gain support from VW at the time.
The logic behind a potential IPO remains compelling, Meschke said at Porsche's annual media conference on Friday. Selling shares in Porsche will not jeopardize VW's plans to leverage cost synergies within the group, he said.
"The decision has to be made by the Volkswagen management and supervisory board. We have largely discussed the advantages of such an initial public offering or listing already," Meschke said.
Meschke said he sees "a certain likelihood" for VW's Bugatti brand to cooperate with Rimac Automobili, the Croatian electric hyper-car maker in which Porsche holds a 24 percent stake.
A tie-up would give Rimac access to Bugatti’s brand, customers and dealership network, while the boutique French outfit would gain a path toward electrification, he said.
Porsche is also expanding its lineup of battery-powered cars as it targets half of its sales to be electrified by 2025.
The company expects to sell more than 30,000 units of its fully electric Taycan sports car this year after adding the more spacious Cross Turismo version. Porsche shipped about 20,000 Taycan models in 2020
VW's Diess said it was the group's aim to transfer responsibility for Bugatti to Porsche, adding Porsche would most likely form a joint venture with Rimac involving Bugatti and end up owning a minority stake.
Reuters contributed to this report