The company’s operating result (EBIT) increased at an even higher rate of 30.2% to 1.5 billion euros (prior year: 1.15 billion).
The return on sales amounted to 10.9% (prior year: 9.2%). “When adjusted for scope of consolidation and one-time effects, EBIT in 2005 rose by 165.1 million euros over the previous year,” explained Alan Hippe, executive board member responsible for finances.
The passenger and light truck tires division increased its sales by 8.3% to 4.44 billion (prior year: 4.1 billion). Operating result (EBIT) of the division surged by 57.5% to 669.0 million euros (prior year: 424.8 million). This implies a return on sales of 15.1% (prior year: 10.4%).
The division increased its unit sales by 3.9% to 106.2 million tyres. Operational sales were on a par with last year.
Business in the NAFTA region developed positively overall. “All told, in the fourth quarter of 2005 we still almost reached the operating break-even point we were aspiring to,“ said Hippe, who is also president and CEO of Continental Tire of North America. “We expect that during this year more progress will be achieved and we can stabilize this positive trend. More efficient cost structures will help, as will the new plant in Brazil, where production has started.”
Continental’s positive results come against a backdrop of a generally subdued global automobile market and considerably higher raw material prices. “We have managed to continue our successful course by combining strengthened innovative power, a successful acquisition policy, sound growth and stringent cost control. We will continue to follow this strategy consistently in the years to come,” said Manfred Wennemer, chairman of Continental’s executive board.