Sportscar maker Porsche AG on Friday said it expects a 4.5% increase in net profit for the first half of 2005 with brisk sales of its redesigned mainstay 911 sports car.

According to the Associated Press (AP), for the six months ending Jan. 31, Porsche said it expects a net profit of €125 million ($US163 million), up from €120 million over the same period the previous year.

First-half pretax profit is expected to rise 6.5% to €225 million ($293 million), while revenues should rise 3.4% to €2.95 billion ($3.84 billion), AP added.

The news agency noted that, though Porsche is heavily dependent on the US market, where it sells more than 40% of its cars, it has hedged its exposure to the US dollar into 2008 and so expects to maintain its profit margins even if the dollar stays weak.

AP added that the euro surged from $1.20 in September to an all-time high of $1.3667 at the end of December and, even though it has since dropped to around $1.30, many economists predict it will hit $1.40 this year.

Porsche reportedly said it expects to sell at least 80,000 vehicles this fiscal year, up from 76,827 in fiscal 2004. The new Porsche 911, launched in July, contributed to the increase with an expected 19.5% more sales to 12,300 units.