Continental posts first half results

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Continental AG's consolidated net sales during the first half of 2005 totaled 6.8 billion euros, a 10.6% increase over the same period last year.

Continental's consolidated operating results for the first half were 687.3 million euros, a 28.5% increase over the first six months of 2004.

Continental's Passenger and Light Truck unit achieved sales of 2 billion euros during the first half of 2005, representing 8.3% growth.

Results for the first six months of the year reflected 64.5 million euros in expenses due to the restructuring of Continental Tire North America Inc.'s Mayfield, Ky., plant, say Continental officials.

"At present, we do not assume that we will be able to achieve our goal of breaking even in the United States passenger and light truck tire business in the fourth quarter of 2005," says Continental AG Executive Board Chairman Manfred Wennemer, who cited market sluggishness as a factor.

"The deviation from our target figures is not large, but many factors would have to turn out positively in order for us to just break even.

"At the same time, this shows we are not in the middle of a catastrophic scenario, but rather that things are just progressing much more slowly then expected."

Continental AG's Commercial Vehicle Tires division recorded an 8.8% drop in sales to 651.1 million euros, following consolidation changes and exchange rate effects.

However, the unit boosted its operating results to 51.1 million euros, an 8.5% jump over results from the first half of 2004.

Overall, Wennemer reports that the Hanover, Germany-based tiremaker is making "considerable progress towards our goal of achieving new top figures and are looking at the second half of the year with confidence."

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