LONDON (June 29)—In a year of "mixed fortunes" for Tomkins P.L.C.'s industrial and automotive activities, the business unit that contains the Gates Rubber assets reported slightly lower earnings on slightly higher sales. Tomkins described the major business areas for the Gates businesses, hoses and belts, as "flat to declining" and exhibiting "little overall growth." For the year ended April 30, Tomkins' Industrial & Automotive business unit reported sales of $2.89 billion, up 2.4 percent, while operating earnings slipped 4.5 percent to $278.6 million. For the current year, Tomkins said its business plan is being developed around projections of an 8-percent drop in vehicle production in North America, with vehicle production elsewhere largely static. "Cost reduction initiatitives are planned to offset the operational gearing effect on the margin," Tomkins said, without elaboration.