HANOVER, Germany (May 1, 2009)—Continental A.G.'s rubber group reported a 55.7-percent drop in pretax operating profits on 22 percent lower sales in the first quarter, a performance overshadowed by a $352.5 million operating loss by Conti's automotive group.
Rubber group operating earnings stood at $149.7 million, or 6.3 percent of the unit's $2.36 billion sales. The earnings/sales ratio is nearly 5 full percentage points lower than a year ago.
Conti's consumer tire division reported a 35.2-percent drop in operating earnings, to $121.9 million, on 17.1 percent lower sales of $1.32 billion. Conti said it suffered volume losses in Europe and the Americas in both the replacement and OE markets.
The commercial tire unit fell $18.2 million into the red on an operating basis, while sales sank 27.5 percent to $315.4 million. The unit experienced a slight increase in unit volumes in the Americas, particularly thanks to positive developments in South America.
For the company as a whole, Conti reported a net loss of $354.2 million on sales of $5.7 billion. Pretax operating income fell 71.7 percent to $330.6 million.
The firm said it expects better sales and operating results in thee second quarter, but announced tire plant and ConiTech division will result in restructuring charges in future quarters.