Volkswagen profit doubles to $20B

Automaker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its net earnings more than doubled last year as revenues grew by more than a quarter and the company benefited from accounting factors related to its stalled takeover of Porsche.
Volkswagen said Friday that its net earnings more than doubled last year as revenues grew by more than a quarter and the company's bottom line benefited from accounting factors related to its stalled takeover of Porsche. (Ferdinand Ostrop/Associated Press)

Automaker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its net earnings more than doubled last year as revenues grew by more than a quarter and the company benefited from accounting factors related to its stalled takeover of Porsche.

Volkswagen earned €15.41 billion ($20.5 billion) in 2011, according to a preliminary earnings statement, up from €6.84 billion the previous year and better than analyst expectations for €13.9 billion. One euro is worth $1.33.

The company, which is to release its full earnings report on March 12, gave no fourth-quarter figures.

Revenues rose 26 per cent to €159.3 billion from €126.9 billion in 2010, again above market forecasts for C156.2 billion as polled by FactSet.

Volkswagen sold nearly 8.27 million vehicles last year, a 14.7 per cent rise from the previous year's figure of 7.2 million and putting it ahead of Japan's Toyota.

The company said that its pre-tax profit for 2011 soared to €18.93 billion from €8.99 billion the previous year. It credited "positive effects from equity-accounted investments" and from its revaluation of put and call rights related to Porsche.

The takeover of Porsche has been stalled by legal issues, although the companies already co-operate extensively.    Volkswagen already had announced a large accounting addition from revaluing options when it released its third-quarter results, saying at the time that the move added €6.8 billion to its results.

Operating profit for the full year, which does not include those one-time effects, was up to €11.27 billion from €7.1 billion a year earlier, just short of the €11.5 billion analysts had forecast.

Shares in the company slipped 0.3 per cent to €138.80 in Frankfurt trading.