PARIS (Feb. 25)—Groupe Michelin expects fiscal 2003 to be an improvement over 2002, but citing uncertainties in the marketplace, the company declined to make specific predictions for the current year. For 2002, the company reported a near doubling of net earnings to $579.2 million (3.9 percent of sales) and an 18-percent improvement in operating earnings to $1.16 billion (7.8 percent of sales). Among the uncertainties cited are upwardly fluctuating raw materials costs, a softening U.S. dollar, and rising operating costs such as transportation, energy and health care. "We anticipate 2003 will be a year of uncertainties," Michelin Chairman Edouard Michelin said in Paris during the presentation of the firm's fiscal 2002 results. "In such circumstances, we have to firmly hold our course and pursue the implementation of our strategy. The 2002 results comfort us in our intention to further improve our performance in 2003."