HANOVER, Germany (Nov. 16)—Led by double-digit growth in sales and earnings by its automotive systems business, Continental A.G. reported flat earnings of $363 million on an 11-percent increase in sales to $7 billion at the nine-month mark of fiscal 2000. Earnings were held back by the company´s tire operations, which suffered from the effects of rising raw materials prices and highly competitive pricing worldwide. To counteract these forces, Conti is raising tire prices globally Jan. 1 by an undisclosed amount. Continental General Inc.´s profits fell 43 percent from 1999 while sales rose 5 percent to $1.23 billion. European passenger and truck tire profits fell while sales increased, and the ContiTech non-tire business showed earnings and sales improvements of 11.9 and 6.5 percent, respectively.