VW seeks to move past Piech’s exit with 17% profit jump

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Baku, April 30, AZERTAC

Volkswagen AG reported a 17 percent jump in first-quarter profit, beating analysts’ predictions, as the company sought to move past a tumultuous power struggle that culminated with the resignation of Chairman Ferdinand Piech “” reported.

Aided by the weak euro and growth at the upscale Audi and Porsche brands, earnings before interest and taxes increased to 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion), solidly ahead of the 3.14 billion euros that analysts had forecast. VW’s namesake car brand improved margins, and even the long-struggling Seat nameplate posted a profit.

The first-quarter earnings “will allay some concerns that recent board changes were related to operating conditions,” Philip Watkins, a London-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., said in a note.

VW was shaken by Piech’s comments earlier this month questioning the authority of Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn and dismissing him as a potential successor as chairman. The attack came without explanation and was followed by behind-the-scenes efforts to oust the CEO, who has led the company within reach of overtaking Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s biggest carmaking group. Piech stepped down on Saturday.

Volkswagen didn’t address the power struggle in its earnings statement, but Winterkorn did defend the company’s strategy.

“We are optimally positioned to master the divergent trends in the global automotive markets,” the 67-year-old CEO said in a statement.

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