MILAN, Italy—Pirelli SpA's parent company, Pirelli Tyre Holding, in its last months as an independently traded company, forecast 1997 ``should see the company confirm its positive economic results,'' especially in light of ``continued improvements in profitability... in the U.S.,'' where the operating loss was cut in half to $25.5 million. Pirelli SpA, which made a tender offer in mid-January for all outstanding shares of PTH, has in the meantime acquired all but about one half of 1 percent of these shares, and announced trading of shares on the Amsterdam stock exchange will cease on June 20.
Pirelli Armstrong's sales last year declined 5.9 percent to $268 million as the firm refocused its entire product range onto the Pirelli brand. Pirelli SpA anticipates growth in both sales and earnings this year, but a ``fragmented'' economic outlook makes it difficult to make a detailed forecast, Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti-Provera said in connection with the release of fiscal 1996 results.
Tight cost controls and the results of a modernized product line helped Pirelli SpA increase net results 43 percent last year over fiscal 1995. The increase was held back by one-time expenses, primarily charges associated with closing the Nashville, Tenn., tire plant.
Pirelli expects its tire business to show further progress in profitability this year thanks to an improving North American business and strong performances by the South American, German and U.K. units.
The tire sector reported a 12.5-percent improvement in operating results last year, to $198 million (306 billion lire), while a strengthening lira eroded turnover, leaving 1996 sales of $3.31 billion, which is 4.6 percent shy of the 1995 level.
Elsewhere, Pirelli experienced strong growth in Latin America and Europe, where sales advanced 12.0 and 9.8 percent, respectively.