Ducati stays with Audi

Ducati's future seems secured for now as a report from Reuters says the German company’s supervisory board has put a stop to its sale.

VW’s supervisory board which includes labor union leaders, and presides over asset sales stated that no sale of Ducati, or other assets such as transmission manufacturer Renk or truck maker MAN can happen without “compelling financial reasons”. The 20-member supervisory board is made up of a 50-50 split between corporate management and workforce representatives.

“The employee representatives on Volkswagen’s supervisory board will neither approve a sale of Ducati, nor one of Renk or MAN Diesel & Turbo,” said a spokesman for VW group’s works council to Reuters. “Everyone who can read the VW half-year results should know: We don’t need money and our subsidiaries are not up for grabs by bargain hunters.”

Over the course of the past few months, it was reported that VW's bankers were instructed to explore options and examine expressions of interest in its Ducati, Renk and MAN brands. Of all the companies, it was Ducati that generated the most interest, with Italy's Benetton family, Harley-Davidson, and even Bajaj Auto Limited expressing desire to acquire the company. Ducati has been valued at 1.3 billion-1.5 billion euros.

Though Ducati is owned via VW’s Audi brand, the VW group supervisory board still reviews any possible asset sale. The sale proposal did not receive support from the Porsche or Piech families, who own a controlling 52-percent voting share in VW. The government of Lower Saxony, which has two seats on the board, also declined support.

“The management board has not even asked the supervisory board of Volkswagen, where such sales have to be ratified, for its approval,” said the works council spokesman. “Therefore we advise all supposedly interested parties: Save your time to check any books. A sale will not happen.”

VW has been conducting a review of its assets since a June 2016 announcement it would be making a shift to electrification as part of a corporate plan dubbed “Strategy 2025”. The shift is widely seen as a means to redeem its image following its admission of cheating on vehicle emissions tests and the resulting fines.

Audi purchased Ducati from Italian equity firm InvestIndustrial for US$ 962 million in 2012 and was rumoured to have considered divesting itself of the brand last year. Ducati however has had a fruitful 2016, with sales of 593 million euros, 55,451 units sold, representing a sales growth of 1.2-percent.