HELSINKI, Finland (Feb. 13)—Nokian Tyres P.L.C., suffering the effects of rising raw materials prices and acquisition-related integration costs, reported a 23-percent drop in net earnings last year, while sales rose 23.5 percent. For 2001, the company expects sales to grow 10 percent—vs. 1 to 2 percent market growth—while also improving earnings an undisclosed amount. Net sales for 2000 rose to $369 million, with revenues from tire chain acquisitions contributing more than half the increase, the company said. Net earnings fell to $18.2 million, reducing the profitability ratio to 4.9 percent. Nokian anticipates tough market conditions in 2001—particularly in the first quarter—including additional raw materials price increases of 10 percent or more. But Nokian has secured off-take agreements with Groupe Michelin for large agricultural and medium truck tires, and it will benefit from expanded mixing operations as the year progresses.