MUSCATINE, Iowa (Feb. 8)—Bandag Inc.'s consolidated net earnings rose to $17.4 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $14.8 million in the like 2000 period. Sales slipped to $249.1 million from $252.7 million for the three months. For the year, Bandag's income fell to $43.8 million from $60.3 million in 2000 while sales slid to $964.9 million from $996 million. The company's earnings were impacted by closure of its manufacturing facility in Chino, Calif., realignment of its North American sales force and a provision for post-retirement health care costs for terminated employees. Bandag had strong fourth-quarter results in its North American operation, with sales rising about 5 percent over fourth quarter 2000 results, which was offset by the firm's weak performance in its offshore business.