Porsche SE could still dig itself out of its debt hole without a merger of its sportscar business with mass-market rival Volkswagen, two people close to Porsche said on Thursday.

Porsche said earlier its board of directors had endorsed talks to sell a stake to the Gulf state of Qatar as part of a capital increase of up to 5 billion euros ($7.10 billion) to help pay down its debt pile of more than 10 billion euros.

Qatar would contribute around 2 billion euros to the capital increase, while a transfer of Porsche's options in Volkswagen shares to the oil-rich country would bring Porsche around another 5 billion euros in cash, the sources said.

A source close to Volkswagen earlier said that Europe's largest carmaker's supervisory board would discuss at its meeting on Thursday whether Qatar would take a stake in Volkswagen, in Porsche or in both companies. 

 (Reporting by Hendrik Sackmann; Writing by Maria Sheahan)