Porsche profit rises ahead of imminent VW purchase

Porsche AG, the sports-car maker being purchased by Volkswagen AG, said first-half profit jumped 21 percent on demand for a new generation of its 911 model. Operating profit rose to 1.26 billion euros from 1.05 billion euros a year earlier, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement on Friday. Revenue increased 29 percent to 6.76 billion euros.

Porsche 911 Carrera S

Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, agreed on July 4 to purchase a 50.1 percent stake in the brand from Porsche SE for 4.46 billion euros, assuming full ownership of the sports-car maker. The transaction is due to close next week, VW Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said Friday.

Adding Porsche to its portfolio of luxury brands that include Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini may bolster VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn’s effort to overtake Toyota Motor Corp.  and GM to become the world’s largest automaker.

Porsche posted a profit margin of 18.7 percent in the first half, beating VW’s 6.8 percent return on sales. VW said yesterday that Porsche’s profit contribution will mainly be consumed by charges this year. Deliveries climbed 23 percent to 68,940 vehicles on demand for the updated 911 sports car, which surged 43 percent. Sales of the Panamera four-door coupe jumped 31 percent, while deliveries of the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle climbed 25 percent. Porsche introduced a new version of the Boxster roadster in April. Porsche has forecast deliveries to rise at least 10 percent this year.

Volkswagen and Porsche agreed to combine in 2009 after Porsche SE’s failed attempt to take over Europe’s biggest carmaker. Backed by VW, Porsche plans to sell 200,000 vehicles a year by 2018. The brand will expand its lineup with the Macan compact sport-utility vehicle, which starts production in 2013. It will also add the 918 Spyder, a limited-run hybrid super car that will be Porsche’s most expensive model ever when deliveries start late next year.

The Porsche SE holding company still owns 50.7 percent of VW common stock and is considering investing in energy trading and other activities with the proceeds from the sale of the sports-car business.