The emirate of Abu Dhabi may become the second-largest shareholder in Volkswagen, the carmaker has said at its annual general meeting.


According to the BBC, VW head Bernd Pischetsrieder said that Abu Dhabi wanted to buy shares through a state investment company.


VW, which saw operating profits fall by 63% in 2003, is under shareholder pressure to turn around its fortunes, the report said, noting that the company’s largest shareholder at present is the German state of Lower Saxony and that any Abu Dhabi role would be through a state-owned investment company.


“This company, and thus Abu Dhabi, would constitute a reliable and long-term-oriented investor who is familiar with and shares the stated goals of the Volkswagen Group,” Pischetsrieder reportedly told shareholders in Hamburg.


In a separate development, the firm said it would acquire the LeasePlan fleet management business of Dutch bank ABN Amro for €2 billion euros (£1.3 billion), the BBC reported, noting that Pischetsrieder had promised earlier to expand the ailing company’s fleet business.


ABN will receive a dividend from the earnings of €130 million, the carmaker reportedly said in a statement.


The BBC said VW will hold 50% of shares while Athens-based Olayan Group and the Abu Dhabi state-owned Mubadala Development Company will own 25% each.


LeasePlan manages around 1.2 million vehicles, the BBC added.