Qatar Holdings, a branch of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and a major investor in Volkswagen, plans to intervene more heavily in the carmaker’s strategy in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions-rigging scandal, Handelsblatt has learned.
According to sources, Qatar, which is VW’s third-largest investor, fears that the works council and the state of Lower Saxony, the latter of which has a 20 percent vote on the company’s board, will prevent real restructuring in the aftermath of the scandal. Chief executive Matthias Müller plans to present a comprehensive new strategy by the summer: it is expected to propose substantial cuts, including job losses and plant closures.
One well-placed insider told Handelsblatt that Qatar Holdings would push hard for this strategy, and was prepared to take on the powerful works council if necessary. This is a new tactic for the Middle East investor, which holds 15.4 percent of VW, but so far has largely favored a soft approach.