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Auto Industry

Volkswagen to strengthen overseas offensive

The German carmaker Volkswagen has announced it is expecting a difficult business environment this year, which will result in stagnating operating profit. But the company said sales and revenues would most likely rise.

Germany's Volkswagen group, comprising 12 brands, confirmed Thursday that its bottom-line profit last year amounted to some 22 billion euros ($28.5 billion), the highest annual net sum ever earned by a company listed in the country's blue-chip DAX index.

VW announced that 2012 earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) rose by 2 percent to 11.5 billion euros, with operations in China making an essential contribution to the result.

In the first two months of the current year, the Wolfsburg-based company sold 1.4 million units, up 8.3 percent year-on-year.

More plants, more profit?

Volkswagen warned against a number of market uncertainties in 2013. "2013 will be a very challenging year for us," CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. He added the carmaker would aim to increase sales, but doubted whether net profits could be raised.

The future of VW

"Europe in particular remains a volatile market, with the debt crisis not yet over," said Winterkorn. Nonetheless, the company aimed to become the No. 1 among the world's automakers in the foreseeable future.

Volkswagen announced that it would continue its overseas offensive, adding that at least 10 new plants would be built there over the next couple of years. VW announced that of those new production facilities, seven would be built in China.

The group said in light of its strong 2012 results it would pay investors 3.50 euros per ordinary share and 2.55 euros per preference share. Employees on agreed wages in the six western German plants were to receive a bonus of 7,200 euros for last year.

hg/mz (Reuters, dpa)

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