FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- German carmaker Porsche AG said Friday that its first-half pretax profit rose 11 percent as its Cayenne off-roader boosted sales, but a sharp fall in demand for its sports cars hammered its stock.
The world's most profitable automaker said pretax profit in the first half of its 2003/2004 fiscal year rose to $263 million and repeated it expected revenues and earnings to rise in the year to the end of July.
It said it would have sold around 32,410 cars by the end of January, up over 30 percent from the first half of the previous year due to the Cayenne, although sales of its 911 and Boxster sports cars fell 26 percent and 44 percent, respectively.
"I was surprised that both the Boxster and the 911 declined even further than I'd been expecting. I expect weak sales of both models to continue in the months to come," said Merck Finck analyst Robert Heberger.
Porsche's profits are unlikely to climb as fast this year as in the recent past as it readies updated versions of the 911 and Boxster and the initial impact of the Cayenne wears off.
It said in December the Cayenne would push sales higher in the year to the end of July 2004, though CEO Wendelin Wiedeking has declined to give an earnings forecast, beyond saying he is "confident and optimistic."
It said revenues in the six months to the end of January 2004 had risen 28 percent to 2.82 billion euros ($3.57 billion), according to preliminary figures.
The company said this month it was planning to boost its liquidity by several hundred million dollars with a bond to be placed with private investors in the United States, and said the issue would be used for long-term financing.
Although Porsche is widely expected to announce a new model range soon -- which industry experts believe will be a four-seat coupe or sports sedan -- it said the bond would not be used to finance any new model.
Company executives are expected to be grilled on its model plans and the precise purpose of the bond at the company's annual general meeting later Friday.