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Continental releases nine-month earnings report

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Continental reports in the first nine months of 2002, consolidated sales rose 3% over the same period of the previous year to 8,484 million euros compared with 8,240 million euros.

Consolidated operating earnings EBITA (EBIT before regular goodwill amoritization) increased by 77% to 547 million euros compared with 309 million euros in 2001, the company says.

Earnings rose by 49% over the same period last year, taking one-time restructuring costs of 58 million euros into account. The net profit margin was 6.5%.

Consolidated net income improved by 173 million euros to 217 million euros compared with the first nine months of 2001.

The company also made progress reducing its debt due to positive earnings, a decrease of working capital, the selling of its own shares and positive effects from exchange rate adjustments.

Continental's Passenger Tires division reported a 5.2% drop in sales to 2,763 million euros vs. 2,913 million euros during the nine-month period in 2001.

This was mainly due to the sale of the British retail chain National Tyre Service in December 2001 and the replacement business in the U.S. and Mexico, the company says.

Unit sales of tires remained constant at the previous year's level. The worldwide OE business and the replacement business in Europe showed positive developments, reported Continental.

Altogether, Pasenger Tires boosted earnings (EBITA) considerably by 66 million euros to 159 million euros with a net profit margin of 5.7%.

Earnings for the same period were hurt by one-time costs totaling 13 million euros, reported Continental.

For the first nine months of 2002, the Commercial Vehicle Tires division reported sales of 979 million euros, 0.5% below the previous year's level (984 million euros).

There was a slight downward trend in sales in Europe, reported the company, whereas an increase in sales was achieved in North America.

The division boosted its operating earnings by 100 million euros to 82 million euros, with a net profit margin of 8.4%.

While restructuring measures costing 45 million euros hurt 2001 earnings, income from selling real estate and machinery improved this year's earnings by approximately 12 million euros. The improvements in earnings is due above all to the effects of the restructuring measures, says the company.

For the full year, Continental expects a slight increase in sales and assumes full-year earnings will be considerably above the 2000 level.

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