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Business

VW sees Sharp Rise in 2005 Profits

Germany's Volkswagen (VW), Europe's biggest car-maker, is forecasting a sharp increase in operating profits in 2005 provided the market does not deteriorate further, the group's finance director said in an interview released Wednesday. As long as developments on the markets were not more negative next year than they had been this year, "we will perform a lot better at an operating level than in 2004," Hans Dieter Pötsch told weekly magazine Focus Money. VW recently slashed its earnings forecasts for the current year in the face of falling sales on its main markets, the negative effects of the strong euro and the cut-throat price war in the United States. The car maker is currently penciling in operating profit before exceptional items of €1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) in 2004, down from a previous forecast of €2.5 billion. (AFP)