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Michelin posts increase in net euro sales

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Groupe Michelin recorded net sales of 15.77 billion euros in 2001, a 2.5% increase over net sales the previous year. There was a 3% appreciation of the average 2001 dollar/euro exchange compared to the rate in 2000.

Worldwide passenger and light truck tire sales in euros were up 3.8%, while truck tire sales were down 4.3%.

Comparative net sales in tons fell close to 3%. According to Michelin, all markets are on a downward trend except for passenger car and light truck tires in Europe.

Michelin North America Inc. posted a 2.5% overall drop in units sold compared to 2000, broken down as follows:

* Replacement, down 1.2%.

* Original equipment, down 6.2%.

In both market segments, however, the company gained market share because the overall market suffered even greater unit decreases.

The tire market was "more difficult in 2001 than in 2000," says Michelin in its financial report. "The slowdown in the North and South American economies, already noticeable in the spring, continued, although the fears of a strong recession created by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack did not materialize.

"The second half, and, more specifically, the fourth quarter, showed a sharp slow down."

Net worldwide sales in euros were down 0.7% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2000. Passenger car and light truck tire sales were down 3.2% for the quarter.

Michelin's stock price closed at $35.25 on Tuesday.

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