German carmaker Porsche expressed cautious optimism on Friday about its business outlook for 2013 after recording its best year ever in 2012.
The manufacturer of the iconic 911 sports car said operating profit jumped last year by 19.3 per cent to 2.44 billion euros (3.2 billion dollars).
Strong demand for luxury vehicles in Asia and the US along with the launch of new models helped to drive a 22.3-per-cent gain in sales.
Last year "was the most successful year in the history of our company," Porsche's chief executive Matthias Mueller told the company's annual press conference in the south-western German city of Stuttgart.
Despite Porsche's key European market being hit by recession and fiscal austerity, the group said group turnover climbed 26.9 per cent to 13.9 billion euros.
"With our international position and a strict cost management, we remain, as a whole, cautiously optimistic for the current 2013 financial year, and are striving for a result building upon the very high level of the prior year," Porsche's chief financial officier Lutz Meschke said.
Porsche, which is now a member of the Volkswagen auto group, cut its net debt from 2.58 billion euros at the end of 2011 to 1.87 billion euros at the end of last year.
The company's workforce also hit a record high of 17,502 last year after growing by 14.3 per cent compared with 2011.
Porsche's sales to the world's two biggest car markets - the US and China - rose by more than 30 per cent last year.
The group's domestic German market chalked up a 16-per-cent gain, while Europe excluding Germany recorded an 8-per-cent rise.
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