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One word for Michelin's profit in 2011: Wow!

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Groupe Michelin recorded net income of more than 1.4 billion euros on net sales of 20.7 billion euros for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2011. That compares to income of 1 billion euros on sale of 17.9 billion euros for fiscal 2010.

Based on the exchange rate on Dec. 31, 2011, Michelin posted net income of nearly $1.9 billion on net sales of $26.8 billion last year. It's income-to-sales ratio was 7%.

The company's operating income was up 14.7%, to 1.9 billion euros ($2.5 billion).

Consumer tire sales grew by 10.1%, and accounted for more than half of total sales (52%). Michelin attributes the growth to the following:

1. a 3.9% increase in sales volumes;

2. the "robust pricing dynamic" maintained throughout the year; and

3. the success of three Michelin lines (Pilot Super Sport, Primacy HP and Alpin 4).

The truck tire sales segment (which includes "related distribution") was up 18.3% year to year. Michelin's "Specialty Businesses" segment, which includes agricultural and OTR tire sales, was up 33%.

Along with its financial results, Michelin released the following outlook.

"In deploying its strategy, Michelin is capitalizing on a number of unique competitive advantages, including forefront positions both in the premium tire segment and in all of its 'Specialty' businesses, as well a balanced global footprint that will be further strengthened in 2012 with the start-up of the new plants in Brazil and China.

"As a result, Michelin confirms its ambition to drive at least 25% growth and generate positive free cash flow over the 2011-2015 period, and has raised its 2015 operating income target to 2.5 billion euros.

"As part of this process, Michelin has introduced a new program to improve the competitiveness of its manufacturing operations and services by around 1 billion euros over five years.

"In 2012, Michelin aims to hold volumes steady as global tire markets experience varying degrees of growth, in an environment that will remain favorable in the new markets but be less buoyant in Europe.

"Growth in operating income and, given capital expenditure of around 1.9
billion euros for the year, the generation of free cash flow should both be in line with
the group's 2015 objectives."

In other news, Michel Rollier, Michelin's managing general partner and chairman, is moving his retirement date up by four years. Click here to read about it.

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