PARIS Feb 12 Michelin, the world's
second-largest tyremaker, said strong pricing and lower
raw-material costs helped lift profit in 2012, pledging to hold
onto gains this year even as sales volumes remain broadly flat.
Net income rose 7.5 percent to 1.57 billion euros ($2.1
billion) on a 3.6 percent revenue increase to 21.47 billion, the
company said at a briefing for reporters in Paris on Tuesday.
The French company, whose tyres equip vehicles ranging from
bicycles to airliners, said truck and specialty tyres - for
farming and mining equipment - largely drove the earnings gain.
Car tyre sales were weighed down by a "collapse in new car
registrations" in Europe, Michelin said in a statement.
Vehicle sales hit a 17-year low in the region last year,
dragging Michelin's global sales volume to a 6.4 percent
Analysts had expected net income of 1.64 billion euros on
revenue of 21.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Operating income rose 25 percent to 2.42 billion euros,
excluding one-time gains or losses, raising the operating margin
to 11.3 percent from 9.4 percent, Michelin said.
The company forecast "stable" operating income for 2013 and
broadly flat sales volumes.
Pricing remained strong, it said, also forecasting a
first-half gain of 350-400 million euros from ongoing price
declines for its rubber, steel and oil-derived manufacturing
Michelin reiterated its medium-term operating profit goal of
2.9 billion euros for 2015.
The French tyremaker, which ranks behind Bridgestone
of Japan in global sales, is adding the equivalent of a
new plant each year to harness growth in emerging markets.
($1 = 0.7474 euros)
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by James Regan)