NOKIA, Finland (Feb. 18)—Despite uncertain trends in the global economy and rising raw material prices, Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has set its sights this year on outperforming its 2002 net sales and profits, which were 13.2 and 29.5 percent ahead of 2001, respectively. To do so, Nokian intends to focus on expanding its profitable winter and forestry tire lines as well as its business presence in eastern Europe and Russia. For 2002, pretax earnings rose to $45.3 million while sales improved to $452.1 million, in part because of 27-percent growth in North America. In 2003, Nokian anticipates added sales volume from off-take manufacturing agreements with Slovakia's Matador A.S. (100,000 units) and Russia's Amtel Holding Co. (900,000 units). Nokian has budgeted nearly $50 million in investments this year, about double that spent in 2002.