VW posts record and targets even better 2011

Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, unveiled record 2010 results Friday and said it would do even better this year, sending its shares soaring.

VW posts record and targets even better 2011
Photo: DPA

VW made a 2010 net profit of €7.2 billion ($9.9 billion), a statement said, dwarfing the 2009 figure of €911 million.

Net profit got a boost from VW’s strong presence in China and other emerging markets, financial investments and the value of options related to its holding in luxury sportscar maker Porsche, which VW wants to make its 10th brand.

VW operating profit soared to €7.1 billion, more than three times the year-earlier figure of €1.9 billion, on sales up 21 percent to €126.9 billion.

For the first time, the German group delivered more than seven million vehicles worldwide, posting a gain of 13.7 percent to 7.2 million units.

“VW is pounding the competition with tremendous force at present,” NordLB auto analyst Frank Schwope commented.

He forecast that at the present rate, VW’s 2018 annual sales target of 10 million vehicles might be reached two or three years ahead of schedule.

For now, “fiscal year 2010 was the best year in the history of the Volkswagen Group,” VW chairman Martin Winterkorn said in the statement.

The company reaped the fruits of its investments in markets like Brazil as it pursued its goal to overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker by 2018. It has teamed up with Japanese carmaker Suzuki in India and is working on a deal with GAZ in Russia.

In the United States, VW wants to nearly triple sales by 2018 and is building a new plant to turn out a model designed specifically for that market.

Meanwhile, VW directors will propose a dividend of €2.20 for 2010, up from the 2009 shareholder payment of €1.60, the statement said.

Looking ahead, the company said it expected sales, deliveries and operating profit to reach new highs this year but did not give detailed figures.

The strong results, along with a capital increase of more than €4 billion last year, underpinned VW’s financial position and provided flexibility as it pursues its integration of Porsche, the statement said. VW owns 49.9 percent of the sportscar manufacturer.

VW shares jumped 5.47 percent to €118.6 in late trading, while the DAX index on which they led gainers was 0.72 percent higher overall.

On Thursday, VW shares had slumped heavily on doubts over its planned merger with Porsche owing to a probe by the prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart, southern Germany that focused on former Porsche executives.

Full details of VW’s results are to come at the group’s annual shareholder’s meeting on March 10 at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, northern Germany.

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Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

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