In fiscal year 2009, economic growth and demand for passenger cars and commercial vehicles were significantly impacted worldwide by the financial and economic crisis. In this difficult environment, the Volkswagen Group performed well and increased its deliveries slightly as against the previous year’s level.
INTEGRATED AUTOMOTIVE GROUP WITH PORSCHE
On December 7, 2009, Volkswagen acquired an initial 49.9% equity interest in Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, via Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH, Stuttgart. The remaining shares are held by Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart, again via Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH. The intention is for Volkswagen AG and Porsche Automobil Holding SE to merge in 2011; this would require the prior approval by the general meetings of the two companies. If the merger does not come about, agreed put/call rights mean that Volkswagen can or must also acquire the remaining 50.1% in Porsche AG.
Additionally, on November 24, 2009 Volkswagen AG entered into agreements with Porsche Holding Salzburg (Porsche Holding GmbH and Porsche Ges.m.b.H., both headquartered in Salzburg) and their key family shareholders that grant Porsche Holding Salzburg the right to sell the operating trading business to Volkswagen by December 31, 2013 (January 1, 2011 at the earliest). In the transitional phase, Volkswagen AG will have the right to two appointees on the Shareholders’ Committees and Supervisory Boards of both Porsche Ges.m.b.H., Salzburg, and Porsche Holding GmbH, Salzburg. These rights can only be exercised once all the relevant authorities have issued the necessary approvals. The proceeds from the sale together with a capital increase at Porsche Automobil Holding SE will reduce that company’s debt and provide the basis for the merger with Volkswagen.
GLOBAL ECONOMY RECOVERS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS
Following the slump in the global economy at the beginning of 2009, many countries started recovering in the following months thanks to the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that continue to be pursued. Although commodity and oil prices again rose significantly as a result of the improved economic prospects, inflation rates in most countries remained relatively low. The global economy contracted on average by 2.0% during the course of the year after growing by 1.9% in 2008.
Percentage change in GDP
Economic growth in the United States slowed to –2.4% in the reporting period (+0.4%). However, thanks to its extremely expansionary monetary and fiscal policy, the country was able to overcome recession in the second half of the year. The US dollar lost considerable ground against the euro by the end of the year after its high in March. Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.6% (+0.4%); Mexico’s economic output declined by 7.0% (+1.4%).
While the Brazilian economy started picking up substantially as early as spring 2009, the economic situation in Argentina worsened in the course of the year. Average annual GDP in these two countries was on a similar level to the previous year.
The Asian emerging economies recorded the fastest pace of growth. At 8.7%, China’s growth rate was only down slightly on the previous year (9.0%). Japan recorded yet another decline in GDP (5.2%) following negative growth in 2008 (–1.2%). India’s economy saw significant growth of 6.5% (7.3%) in the reporting period.
EXCHANGE RATE MOVEMENTS FROM DECEMBER 2008 TO DECEMBER 2009
Index is based on month-end rates, December 31, 2008 = 100
Economic output in Western Europe declined sharply by 3.9% (+0.5%); unemployment in the euro zone rose from 8.2% at the beginning of the year to 10.0% at the end of the year. In November, the euro hit new highs for the year against the US dollar. Average GDP growth in Central and Eastern Europe was –5.4% (+4.1%).
For the first time in 17 years, South Africa recorded negative growth at –1.9% (+3.7%).
Although Germany had already overcome the recession in the second quarter of 2009, average annual GDP was down 5.0% on the previous year’s level (+1.3%). The economic impetus in the second half of the year came mainly from exports and restocking. Retail spending remained relatively stable thanks to government support measures, although unemployment rose.