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Pirelli's tire division announces increased sales, net loss

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Pirelli SpA recorded $2.7 billion in tire sales in 2000. That represents an increase of 6.3% over 1999's results, based on year-end currency exchange rates.

However, the tire division suffered a net loss of $162 million. Still, the company says it ended the year with net income of $3.4 billion, thanks to a strong performance from its cable division and sales of two optical technology units to Cisco Systems and Corning, respectively.

Tire sales made up 39% of parent company Pirelli SpA's total sales in 2000. The cable and systems division accounted for 61%, or $4.3 billion.

The company plans to invest 350 million euros on the tire division in 2001. Almost 43% of that, or 150 million euros, will be used to build MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) tire manufacturing plants in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

"The plan to strengthen the Pirelli Group's strategic and competitive positioning in major international markets will continue to be pursued in 2001," said the year-end report.

Pirelli's stock price closed at $3.27 on Wednesday, a 9% drop since Jan. 1.

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