Exclusive: VW eyes possible sale of motorbike brand Ducati - sources

Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:32pm EDT
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By Arno Schuetze

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) is considering a possible sale of Italian motorcycle maker Ducati as Europe's largest carmaker streamlines operations to help fund a strategic overhaul following its emissions scandal, two people familiar with the matter said.

Volkswagen (VW) is reining in spending across the group, including cutting thousands of jobs at its core passenger-car brand, to help pay for a multibillion-euro shift to embrace electric cars and new mobility services.

VW has tasked investment banking boutique Evercore (EVR.N: Quote) with evaluating possible options including a sale of the Ducati brand, which its Audi division (NSUG.DE: Quote) acquired for about 860 million euros ($935 million) in 2012, the sources said.

While Wolfsburg-based VW has started reaching out to potential buyers to sound out their interest, no decision has been taken on whether the brand will be sold, they added.

VW referred to Audi for comment. Audi and Evercore declined to comment.

One of the sources said Ducati made annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of roughly 100 million euros and could fetch a valuation of up to 1.5 billion euros, or 15 times its core earnings - a multiple similar to that of Italian supercar maker Ferrari (FCHA.MI: Quote).

A banker close to the industry said potential buyers were likely to offer VW an earnings multiple of more than 10.

The motorbike maker may appeal to peers in China, India's Hero (HROM.NS: Quote) or investors such as the consortium that bought British sports car maker Aston Martin in 2007, the sources said.   Continued...

The logo of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati is seen in Dietlikon, Switzerland October 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann