1. How does Porsche differ – operating structure, financial results, etc. – from other major European-based auto manufacturers?
To begin with Porsche is a privately owned company controlled by the Porsche and Piéch family. They hold all the 8.75 million voting shares while mainly large institutional investors hold the other 8.75 million non-voting shares. Despite the fact that stock exchange and analysts’ requests more frequent and more detailed financial reporting Porsche is not willing to meet these needs. Another questionable input is the management compensation that only depend on Porsches profitability from year to year and not the share prices. Porsche manufacturing is conducted in German but also in Finland which make them a global brand with a cost base mainly in euro. They want to keep it so despite the fact that 42% of its revenues come from sales in the US since they believe that the heart of the brand comes from its performance in manufacturing and engineering. Porsche is therefore, by far the most exposed company among other European-based auto manufactures to changes in exchange rates. While the other manufacturers increase their amount of natural hedging by conducting more manufacturing in their countries of large sales Porsche increase their put option hedging. According to their 2006 model year they are going to fully hedged all their sales. This is done even though Porsche has the largest US exposure among the manufactures. Their hedging strategy has been criticized for being more lucky than thoughtful. Porsche also differ with their extreme anti-debt attitude. Porsche have a strong competitive position and another aspect that is very specific for Porsche’s products is the exchange rate pass-through. They pass through the changes of exchange rate upon the final consumer.
2. Describe Porsche’s foreign exchange operating (economic) exposure. How has the company been managing this exchange rate exposure?