Porsche earned eight times as much from its share dealing in Volkswagen than from selling cars.

The automaker said it made EUR6.83bn from trading in VW options and a further EUR1bn from the rising value of its stake in the larger company, in the financial year that ended in July.

This helped Porsche to increase its pre-tax profit by 46% to EUR8.57bn (from EUR5.857bn a year ago) although its dealings in VW shares have caused controversy in financial circles with some people calling for an investigation by the German stock market watchdog BaFin.

Last month, VW’s shares rocketed after Porsche unexpectedly disclosed that it had increased its stake in VW from 35% to 74.1%.

On the other hand, operating profit was only about EUR1bn, Porsche said, noting that increased development costs for the additional Panamera model, Cayenne hybrid, new  more efficient engines and for other new vehicle models, “again proved a burden on the result”.

Profit after taxes climbed to EUR 6.392bn and earnings per share were EUR 35.94 versus EUR 23.98 a year ago.

Porsche said new 911 models, the more efficient engines and its new double clutch automatic transmission have prompted it to take “an optimistic view of the current business year 2008/09. The fact that further new models will be put on the market in the near future should also support the sales situation on the demand side,” it said.

“Nevertheless, it is very difficult to make reliable statements on the course of the current business year as a whole because of the current economic situation, which is extremely tense due to the US mortgage crisis and the financial market crisis.

“Porsche is therefore acting cautiously and will, if necessary, respond flexibly to any further economic upheavals. In any case it cannot be denied that demand in the automotive industry is due to suffer a serious set-back.

“Porsche will hardly be able to escape this downward trend so that currently we do not assume that we will be able to repeat the high total sales of the previous business year.”

Turnover rose 1.3% to EUR7.466bn on sales of 98,652 vehicles, up 1.2 % from 97,515 the previous fiscal year.