CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (April 24) — Michelin posted a 5.5-percent gain in sales in the first quarter to $5.6 billion, based on volume growth and improved pricing.
The first-quarter performance supports Michelin´s outlook for fiscal 2007 of a "tangible increase" in sales and operating margin, the company said in its quarterly statement. The firm did not disclose earnings at this time, saying only its earlier projection that raw materials costs would have a "neutral impact" on profits is still valid.
Michelin attributed its overall sales growth to improved performances in all its operating sectors, with truck and specialty tires performing above average while passenger car/light truck tire operations were affected negatively by slow original equipment sales, especially in North America and Asia.
Michelin said its sales volume increased 5 percent while the price-mix effect contributed a 4-percent gain. These gains were offset by a 3.6-percent drop from currency translation changes.
In its business units, Michelin said sales in its passenger/light truck, truck and specialty business units were up 3.5, 5.3 and 14.8 percent, respectively. The latter reflects strong global demand for earthmover and radial aircraft tires.
In North America, replacement passenger/light truck tire sales were up, driven primarily by the Michelin brand, while original equipment sales were down in line with lower vehicle output by U.S.- and Canada-based vehicle makers.
Michelin truck tire and retread sales were up in a down market, the company said.