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Profits more than double for VW

Europe's largest car maker, Volkswagen has unveiled full-year profits that have more than doubled.

Overall net profits at the firm jumped to €2.75 billion ($3.6 billion; £1.8 billion) in 2006 from €1.12 billion a year earlier. The company thanked windfall gains from unit disposals, rising sales and the positive impact of German corporate taxes for the increase. Volkswagen recently embarked on a restructuring drive to tackle falling profits, rising competition and increasing costs.
Once the cost of the shake-up - which led to at least 20,000 job losses - are included, operating profits fell to €2 billion against €2.9 billion in 2005. The €1.26 billion sale of VW's Europcar car rental firm also added to profits, as did an 11% rise in sales to €104.9 billion - buoyed by strong demand for new models such as the Audi Q7 offroader.
Operating profits before one-offs rose to €4.38 billion ($5.75 billion; £2.9 billion) from €2.9 billion in 2005. Looking ahead, the firm said it would continue to drive through change, adding it was on course to achieve earnings of €5.1 billion next year. „We will continue to vigorously drive forward the activities to improve cost structures and processes in 2007,” said VW. „This, along with the steps we undertook in 2006, will lead to a sustainable improvement in our competitiveness.” (BBC News)