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Continental announces first half results

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Continental AG's first half sales totaled nearly 5.5 million euros or $4.6 billion, a 12% increase over the same period last year.

However, Continental's consolidated operating earnings dropped from $252.2 million to $183.4 million, "suffering considerably under the North American tire business," according to company officials.

Continental Tire North America Inc.'s sales decreased 6% during the first six months of 2001 due to lowered demand for original equipment and replacement passenger and commercial truck tires.

Dr. Stephan Kessel, chairman of Continental AG's executive board, describes the manufacturer's second quarter passenger tire business as "gratifying... Our strategy of focusing on cost leadership while at the same time expanding in the vital original equipment business and the high-performance tire sector is now paying off."

Continental AG expects growing passenger tire business in Europe will offset "the problematic situation in North America" during the second half of the year.

And its ContiTech and Continental Automotive Systems divisions, which reported sales gains during the first half of the year, are expected to perform well.

The German firm says its total year sales will exceed 11 billion euros or $9.3 billion by the end of 2001.

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