PARISGroup Michelin suffered drops in earnings and sales last year as higher demand in North America and China failed to overcome sluggish demand in Europe and other key markets.
Looking forward, Michelin said it expects demand in 2015 for passenger car, light truck and truck tires would continue to grow in North America and China and would pick up again in Europe, albeit at a modest rate.
For the year, Michelin's operating income fell 2.9 percent to $2.88 billion, while sales dropped 3.4 percent to $26 billion. Net income slid 8.5 percent to $1.37 billion.
Michelin's 2014 results also were affected by declines in the agricultural and mining sectors, softened by a recovery in the OE and infrastructure market in the earthmover tire segment, the French tire maker said.
Mining tire customers, it noted, were likely to make further inventory drawdowns and OE sales in the agricultural tire segment are expected to be lower. The earthmover segment, OE and infrastructure business should continue to grow at a modest rate, Michelin predicted.
Sales revenue fell in all three of Michelin's businessesconsumer tires, truck tires and specialty businessesalthough the firm said unit sales were up in both the consumer and truck tire segments, by 2 and 1 percent, respectively. The market for mining tires in particular contracted sharply, Michelin said, as mining companies reduced their tire inventories and operations at certain mines were scaled back in response to sharply lower commodity prices.
Revenue in North America slipped 2.1 percent to $9.14 billion, reflecting targeted price adjustments, Michelin said.
The company described the North American consumer OE market as buoyant, with demand rising 5 percent over 2013, while the replacement market grew 6, although shipments were influenced by inventory building ahead of the introduction of customs duties on Chinese-made tires.