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The Independent Online
Volkswagen, the German car maker, said operating profit in 1996 surged by more than 77 per cent to around DM1.97bn (pounds 730m), reflecting the benefits of last year's cost-cutting measures. While full details of the results will not be released until 10 April, analysts predicted that the company would finally report a operating profit of DM2bn. "The numbers show their cost-cutting plan is really taking effect," said Michael Klein, an analyst at Delbrueck. Volkswagen's main cost-cutting is on the production side, where it is reducing the number of platforms used by its four car making plants from 16 to four.Analysts estimate the company could save up to 30 per cent of production costs over the next few years.

Boustead said the Stock Exchange agreed to extend the suspension of dealings in the company's shares until 21 June. The company said the extension has been granted to allow it to investigate several acquisition opportunities, and which may lead to a reverse takeover of Boustead.