Volkswagen said its first-half operating profit beat expectations, helped by cost cutting at its core VW brand and rising European car sales.

But the German company announced another €2.2 billion provision related to its emissions scandal. 

Europe's biggest car maker said today its operating profit for the six months to the end of June, excluding one-off items, rose 7% to €7.5 billion. 

In an unscheduled update ahead of interim results on July 28, it said this was ahead of analysts' expectations, although it did not say what those expectations were. 

Including the one-off items, however, VW said its operating profit dropped 22% to €5.3 billion. 

VW admitted in September it installed illegal software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, sparking the biggest business crisis in its history. 

It has already set aside €16.2 billion to pay for technical fixes for cars that violate clean air standards, buybacks of vehicles and legal costs. 

VW said today that an improvement in European car markets as well as the return of orders from large corporate fleets had bolstered earnings at its namesake brand.

The company said it still expected 2016 sales revenue to decline as much as 5% from 2015, and an operating return on sales of 5-6%.