VW investors demand faster progress in dieselgate reforms
By Andreas Cremer
HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) needs to do more to regain the confidence of investors in the wake of its emissions scandal, despite a swift recovery in earnings, several shareholders told the German carmaker at its annual meeting on Wednesday.
The world's largest automaker reported better-than-expected first-quarter profits and has announced a raft of plans to recover from the biggest business crisis in its history, including cost cuts and investment in cleaner cars.
But some shareholders said its emissions test cheating on diesel engines would continue to haunt it for years if it did not publish the results of an investigation into the scandal, address outstanding claims and improve corporate governance.
"I am shocked and speechless, that was the case at the time and it still is today," said Gerd Kuhlmeyer, head of staff shareholders group Community of VW, referring to a scandal that broke 20 months ago. "An end of ongoing investigation proceedings and possible further effects is not in sight."
Volkswagen (VW) has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
But it still faces billions of euros in claims from about 3,500 customer lawsuits and about 2,000 investor suits globally.
The German group, which is tightly controlled by its founding families and home state of Lower Saxony, rejected calls by Kuhlmeyer and other investors for it to publish the results of a company-commissioned investigation by U.S. law firm Jones Day into the scandal, saying it couldn't for legal reasons.
"There is no written concluding report by Jones Day and there will not be one," VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said. Continued...