VELP, Netherlands (Feb. 19)—Vredestein N.V.'s tire and rubber boots and outdoor footwear operations performed well in 2002, and helped return the company to profitability. The Dutch firm reported preliminary operating profits of $15.7 million on sales of $320.8 million, compared with a loss of $8.34 million on sales of $326.2 million in 2001. Besides the positive results of the Vredestein Banden tire unit and Hevea footwear division, the company said its Rubber Resources compounding, sealing profiles and rubber waste recycling business also showed improvement. However, that division still operated at a loss in 2002. Vredestein will issue its final annual figures for 2002 on 21 March.