MILAN, Italy (Feb. 11)—Pirelli S.p.A.'s tire sales and operating profit were stable in 2001, thanks in part to an increasing focus on high-performance tire markets. Sales at Pirelli's energy cables and systems division were 11.7 percent higher than in 2000, the group's preliminary, unaudited results for 2001 show. Overall Pirelli's gross operating profit for 2001 fell 18.8 percent to $593.7 million, while sales were up slightly to $6.7 billion. As a result, the net margin dipped to 8.8 percent from 11 percent in 2000. The decline reflected a worsening of the general economy during the second half of 2001, particularly in the telecom cables and systems market, Pirelli said. As a result, Pirelli is cautious about prospects in the first quarter of 2002. The firm will present its final consolidated financial statements for last year on March 27.