* Q1 oper profit 2.9 bln euros vs Rtrs poll avg 2.19 bln
* Automotive net cash 19.6 bln euros at end-March
* Sees gain in 2011 sales, operating profits
* VW shares up 4.7 pct, Porsche 6 pct higher
(Adds fund manager comment, CFO comments)
By Maria Sheahan
FRANKFURT, April 27 Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE),
Europe's largest carmaker, tore through quarterly earnings
forecasts with emerging markets fuelling a sharp rise in sales
and taking it closer to its goal of overtaking Toyota (7203.T).
Carmakers have turned to booming markets such as Brazil,
Russia and China -- now the world's largest auto market -- for
growth as European markets stagnate.
VW, whose stable of brands includes Audi, Skoda and Seat,
sold 14 percent more vehicles in the first quarter of the year
thanks to demand from abroad and a low exposure to supply-chain
problems related to the crisis in Japan.
"We continue to see the most dynamic growth prospects in the
emerging markets of Asia and Latin America, whereas the
industrialised nations will continue to experience only moderate
growth," Volkswagen said on Wednesday.
Bernstein Research said VW's strong performance was part of
a wider trend of demand for German marques.
"The world wants to buy German vehicles, and BMW (BMWG.DE),
Mercedes (DAIGn.DE) and VW are taking market share everywhere,"
Bernstein analysts said in a note on Wednesday.
The country's car exports jumped by 24 percent in 2010, but
German carmakers are already producing more vehicles abroad than
in their home market to meet demand from countries such as the
United States and China.
Shares in Volkswagen, which has a 12 percent share of the
global passenger car market, extended gains to trade 4.7 percent
higher at 126.45 euros by 1500 GMT. The STOXX Europe 600
Automobiles & Parts .SXAP index was up 2.5 percent.
VW's operating profit, which does not include earnings from
its lucrative China business, surged to 2.91 billion euros
($4.26 billion), surpassing the 2.19 billion estimated on
average from a Reuters poll of 11 analysts. [ID:nLDE73K1M8]
Some European carmakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen
(PEUP.PA) have taken a hit after Japan's earthquake and nuclear
crisis made it difficult to source car parts from there.
Rival Renault (RENA.PA) on Tuesday predicted the impact of
the Japan crisis on the auto industry supply chain could lead to
slower production in the coming months. [ID:nLDE73P1MT]
But German auto companies have so far remained relatively
unscathed by supply chain problems, and the crisis may create an
opportunity for Volkswagen to surpass its top rivals.
VW has been aiming to surpass Toyota , the world's biggest
carmaker, in terms of global auto sales, and the Japan crisis
could hamper Toyota's production, pushing it temporarily to the
No. 3 spot behind General Motors (GM.N) and VW.
For analysts' views on the results, click on: [ID:nLDE73Q0RY]
Japan monthly auto sales: link.reuters.com/bym29r
For a Graphic on the ownership structure of Porsche and
Volkswagen, click r.reuters.com/zug78r
VW warned that the crisis in Japan and its economic impact
could adversely affect car production and sales but said it
still expected to post higher 2011 revenue and operating profit
and to top the record 7.14 million vehicles it sold last year.
"The outlook is not aggressive, but that is understandable
in the face of uncertainties such as the crisis in Japan, the
European debt crisis and an uncertain development of raw
material prices," said Michael Muders, a fund manager at Union
Investment, 10th biggest holder of Volkswagen preference shares.
Volkswagen's Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch
told analysts during a conference call that the company should
be able to get all the parts it needs for the next few weeks
though he could not rule out problems later in the year.
Porsche AG, the sportscar business jointly owned by Porsche
SE (PSHG_p.DE) and VW, earlier said it more than doubled its
operating profit to 496 million euros in the first quarter, with
a 10 percent increase in revenue.
(Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz and Arno Schuetze;
Editing by Will Waterman and Alexander Smith)