PARIS (July 26, 2000) — Group Michelin reported 13.7-percent higher sales for the first six months of 2000 over 1999´s first half, although the rate of growth slowed in the second quarter.
The company also said operating earnings will fall short of the $665.1 million reported a year ago, putting it behind its operating margin goals for the year.
Michelin blamed the earnings erosion on the impact of rising raw materials prices and fluctuations in exchange rates.
The company will not release earnings figures until mid-September. Earlier, it had set a goal of achieving a 9.5-percent operating margin this year.
For the half-year, Michelin reported sales of $7.09 billion. The increase resulted from a 7.5-percent rise in tonnage sold and a 5.9-percent improvement in exchange rate movements, most notably involving the U.S. dollar.
The company´s tonnage sales in North America grew 6.5 percent during the period, although slackening demand for truck tires led to slower growth in the second quarter, Michelin said.
The tire maker said the slowdown in demand became particularly evident in June in both Europe and North America. Sales volume was up 4.2 percent during April-June, compared with 11 percent during the January-March period.
On the up side, Michelin said it has made significant gains in sales of high-performance and other specialty tires, including 39-percent growth in sales of V- and Z-rated tires in Europe.
Sales in South America, led by the recovering Brazilian market, were up 22.6 percent over 1999, but the group´s performance in Asia was flat compared with a year ago.