Porsche AG isn’t the only Volkswagen AG brand that has been quietly preparing for a potential initial public offering.
Italian luxury-car maker Lamborghini has been developing a strategy how to present itself to stock-market investors since well before Volkswagen asked each of its brands to come up with virtual equity stories, according to the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Stephan Winkelmann.
“We’ve been working on this with other agencies in order to create clarity,” Winkelmann said. “As a brand, we’ve done so for a long time, to show what worth, what value we have. Up until a little while ago, it wasn’t so well known.”
Porsche became Europe’s most valuable automaker last month, when its market capitalization overtook that of VW a week after its IPO in Frankfurt. The debut of the 911 maker was a bold move into public markets, which have been largely shut for most of the year. VW CEO Oliver Blume has said he sees the listing as a blueprint to unlock more value from the group’s brands that also include Audi and Bentley.
“An IPO drill is exactly what you do to show the public how solid you are and what is in progress for the future,” Winkelmann said. “We have a clear story and strategy for that.”
Audi, which oversees VW’s premium brands, said last month there are no concrete plans for an IPO of Lamborghini. A previous push to potentially spin off the carmaker and motorcycle brand Ducati ran into opposition from labor leaders.
Still, Lamborghini’s recent profit gains — including a 31.9% operating margin in the first half of this year — make a solid case for a stock-market listing, said Michael Dean, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
“An IPO is something that could potentially happen in the next 18 months, depending on market conditions,” Dean said. “A €15 billion valuation is entirely justifiable and could be even higher, given the margin metrics.”
Lamborghini’s deliveries rose 8% to 7,430 vehicles in the first nine months of the year. Operating profit climbed 69% to €570 million ($567 million).