Porsche said on Wednesday that pre-tax profit rose 13% in 2002/03, its ninth record year, and said it expected higher sales and revenues in its current year to the end of July 2004, Reuters reported.

The world's most profitable car maker reportedly said pre-tax earnings for its last business year came in at €933 million ($US1.1 billion), while net profit rose 22% to €565 million.

Reuters noted that Porsche dented investors' hopes for a 10th record year of profit in September, when it cautioned that earnings this financial year could be flat despite higher sales but said on Wednesday that it expected high profits for the current year without giving further details.

According to Reuters, many analysts question whether Porsche will be able to maintain its historical earnings growth, with spending set to increase as it develops new 911 and Boxster models - expected in late 2004 and early 2005 respectively.

Reuters noted that Porsche said in September the Cayenne - a two-ton SUV whose introduction was timed to bridge a slowdown in demand for the 911 and Boxster - helped lift revenues by 15% to €5.6 billion in 2002/03, while unit sales rose 23%.

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