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Michelin posts first half gains

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Groupe Michelin's net sales during the first half of the year totaled 7.4 billion euros. Its net income for the first half was 385.9 million euros, a 5.5% increase over first half 2004 results.

Michelin's replacement passenger and light truck tire sales in North America grew 3.3% over prior-year levels thanks to "significant strengthening of the high performance VZ and 4x4 SUV segments," according to Michelin officials.

"Group sales of Michelin and BFGoodrich branded tires grew at a faster pace," but private brand sales slowed down. "This is one of the direct results of (Michelin's) continuing focused growth strategy."

At the original equipment level, Michelin experienced 9.4% growth in the high performance segment in North America but its SUV tire share fell 10%.

Michelin's replacement truck tire sales "outperformed the market in Canada and Mexico. All in all, they are stable in the United States. The continuing success of the Michelin X-One (wide base) tire drives a richer product mix."

Michelin also says its OE truck tire sales outperformed the market during the first six months of 2005.

"For the second half of 2005, the Group anticipates that raw material costs will continue to increase," say Michelin officials.

"Tire markets should be better oriented. Supported by productivity gains and by tight cost controls, the Group is confident in its ability to achieve its commercial, industrial and financial targets."

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