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Bavarian state pension fund to sue VW over emissions scandal

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Bavaria’s civil service pension fund is to file a lawsuit against Volkswagen (VW), according to the German state’s finance ministry.

A spokeswoman for the ministry confirmed to IPE its intention to file the suit on behalf of the Bayerische Pensionsfonds, set up after state pension reserves set aside since 1999 were combined.

The fund, worth €2.1bn at the end of 2014 and being used to pre-fund the state’s civil service liabilities from 2023, will be suing VW for damages of €700,000.

However, the ministry spokeswoman took pains to emphasise that the Pensionsfonds had not made an actual loss, as it intended to continue holding its VW stake. 

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She also acknowledged that even the firm’s current stock price was higher than that paid by the Pensionsfonds when the shares were acquired.

The lawsuit comes after the German car manufacturer was embroiled in an scandal over its use of so-called deceit devices to mask the true emissions of its cars.

The scandal saw VW’s share price drop from €162.40 to as low as €92.36 at the beginning of October, and has already seen several of the world’s largest asset owners, including the Norwegian sovereign fund and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, throw their support behind a class action lawsuit.

But the suit by the Bayerische Pensionsfonds, to be filed at the Braunschweig District Court, will not be part of the same class action suit brought by other institutional investors. 

The significantly larger Bayerische Versorgungskammer, which manages €66bn in pension assets, including those for members of Bavaria’s state parliament, told IPE it did not intend to file a suit against VW.

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