Continental predicts slight decline in domestic vehicle production

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General uncertainty characterizes Continental AG's conservative financial estimates for 2003.

"Unpredictability with regard to the overall economic situation -- and to business in the automotive sector in particular -- as a result of developments in the global economy, and the lack of forecasts by some of the company’s key vehicle manufacturer customers, make it difficult to present any estimates at this time," said the company in its finacial results for 2002.

"With these reservations in mind, Continental is forecasting a moderate decline in automobile production in North America and Europe for the year as a whole.

"For 2003, the company is expecting the operating result to be at the previous year's level and is continuing to strive for its goal of a gearing ratio of 100% by the end of the year. Continental made a positive start to the current year, with sales for the first months exceeding last year's figures.

Continental AG recorded consolidated net income of 226 million euros on sales of 11.4 billion euros in 2002. That compares favorably to 2001, when the company recorded a net loss of 257.6 million euros on consolidated sales of 11.22 million euros.

When the exchange rate is taken into account, Continental earned $213.8 million on sales of $10.8 billion in 2002.

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