VW profits race ahead

Volkswagen, the biggest European automaker, said on Wednesday that its third-quarter net profit leapt more than 10-fold to €2.2 billion ($3.0 billion) on strong demand and strict cost controls.

VW profits race ahead
Photo: DPA

Despite the gain, VW did not raise its full-year outlook however, even though the targets are considered prudent by many analysts.

“Increased demand for our group models and our disciplined cost management led to these strong results, which have strengthened our sound financial base,” a statement quoted VW finance director Hans Dieter Poetsch as saying.

After reporting nine-month results on Friday, VW said that third-quarter sales jumped by 18.4 percent to €30.7 billion, and operating profit climbed to €1.985 billion from €278 million in the third quarter of 2009.

That period marked the low point in the recent global auto sector crisis.

Looking ahead, VW warned the sharp rebound would ease, saying that growth seen “in the first nine months of 2010 will not continue as strongly in the fourth quarter.”

“Nevertheless, we believe that sales revenue and operating profit in the current year will continue to perform positively,” Poetsch said.

VW maintained its full-year targets, rather than raising them as many analysts had expected.

VW and its nine brands that include Audi, Bentley, Seat and Skoda, still expect to surpass last year’s unit sales of 6.3 million vehicles and operating profit of €1.9 billion.

The group sold 5.4 million vehicles in the first nine months of this year, and its operating profit since January stands at €4.8 billion.

VW chairman Martin Winterkorn was quoted as saying that “the Volkswagen Group continues to have its sights firmly set on capturing pole position in the automotive industry.”

VW wants to overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker by 2018. Shares in the company showed a loss of 0.14 percent to €104.5 in morning trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange meanwhile, while the DAX index of leading stocks was 0.33 percent lower overall.


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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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