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Volkswagen: Share targets slashed, but still a buy?

Volkswagen, the German carmaker facing allegations it falsified emissions data for its diesel cars, may not seem like a widows and orphans stock at the moment.

Yet a team of UBS analysts led by Philippe Houchois have just issued a buy rating on its shares, despite nearly halving its share price target for the automaker to 150 euros per share over the next 12 months.

Volkswagen's share price -- which has fallen below 100 euros several times since it admitted installing software which could understate emissions of nitrogen oxide in lab tests -- rose by around 6 percent in European morning trading after the research was released on Wednesday.

VW may look "un-investable" and "lack catalysts", the analysts admit.

A Volkswagen car dealership in San Diego.
Mike Blake | Reuters
A Volkswagen car dealership in San Diego.

The carmaker will start recalling around 11 million cars worldwide which have been affected by the scandal in early 2016, Matthias Müller, its new chief executive, told German press on Wednesday. The company is also facing unknown expenses from investigations by authorities in the U.S. and Europe into the falsification of data.

Wednesday afternoon VW announced that its supervisory board had appointed finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch as the carmaker's new chairman.


Still, its "enviable size, assets, political support and strategic options in an industry where arguably nobody really gains from a very weak VW" should help see the business through this crisis, according to the UBS analysts, who factored in a 30 percent cut to earnings for 2015-19.

However, the company's financial services business, which provides finance to buy VW cars, is facing a writedown of around 3 billion euros, according to UBS.