Carl Zeiss is budgeting only a 6 percent sales increase this year to about 4.2 billion DM (e2.1bn-$1.9bn) in group sales, but it plans to invest 50 million DM (e26m-$23m) more on R&D to help speed up its future development in the longer terms.

The German group has reported a 13 percent increase in its branded optical business to 746 million DM (e381m-$340m)for the fiscal year ended last Sept. 30, indicating a slowdown in the 2nd half. Sales of eye care instruments and medical microscopes rose by 22 percent to 818 million DM (e413m-$368m).

The group's total sales rose by 22 percent to more than 3.9 billion DM (e2bn-$1.8bn) in the past year, generating a net profit of more than 100 million DM (e50m-$45m), thanks in particular to sales increases of 44 percent in optoelectronic systems and of 54 percent in semiconductors.

All the divisions were profitable for the first time in several years, contributing to an operating profit of 235 million DM (e120m-$107m) for the group, as compared to only 36 million DM in the previous year.