GERMANY - German car manufacturer Porsche has played down newspaper reports it plans to outsource its pension liabilities.

Wirtschaftswoche reported on Saturday that Porsche's financial head Holger Härter was planning to take pension liabilities off balance sheet. The weekly cited unnamed sources close to the company as saying Härter had already met with various asset managers.

Such a move would follow the revelation last week that Porsche made €6.8bn from its controversial VW option trades.

But a company spokesman told IPE he "cannot confirm" the paper's report and that "at the moment there are no plans at Porsche to outsource pensions".

At the end of the last fiscal year in July 2007 Porsche AG had €572.4m in pension accruals on its balance sheet while the whole Porsche Group had €719.5m.

In the course of that year the company also created the so-called "Porsche Pension Committee" to monitor standards set for voluntary occupational pension offerings within the group.

Wirtschaftswoche speculated plans for outsourcing might be linked to the reform of German accounting standards HGB which will allow companies to create plan assets similar to those used under IFRS. (see earlier IPE-story: BilMoG arrival will go ahead - ministry)

Recently another German car manufacturer, BMW, transferred its pensions into a CTA. (see earlier IPE-article: BMW transfers pensions to new Trust)