HANOVER, Germany—Continental A.G.'s Rubber Group suffered an 8.7-percent decline in fiscal 2018 pre-tax operating earnings despite 0.6-percent higher sales, as elevated raw materials prices and foreign exchange changes offset gains in areas such as volume and pricing.
Rubber Group earnings fell to $3.77 billion while sales grew to $20.8 billion, Conti said, reducing the operating ratio nearly two points to 18.2 percent.
Tire business operating earnings fell 9.2 percent to $2.22 billion on 0.2 percent higher sales of $13.3 billion.
As a corporation, Conti reported an 11.7 percent drop in operating income, to $4.75 billion, on 0.9 percent higher sales of $52.4 billion. As a result, the operating ratio fell a point to 9.1 percent.
Net income fell 3 percent to $3.49 billion.
Despite the lower earnings, Conti CEO Elmar Degenhart said the company "again demonstrated our excellent performance despite the weak markets. We are continuing to grow faster than our relevant industries and markets."
In his remarks to the media, Degenhart noted that autonomous driving, electric mobility and connectivity are all core elements of Conti's strategy.
"When people talk about the 'mobility of the future,' they mean Continental," he said. "We are supplying what others are still testing. Our solutions, components, and systems are already generating enhanced safety, efficiency and comfort in four out of five vehicles worldwide."
Degenhart went on to single out the tire business, saying: "Grip is one of our traditional key fields of expertise in the tire business. It is part of our corporate culture, and we transfer it even to our connectivity technology, providing dependable solutions to offer secure contact, from the road to the cloud, all from a single source like no other company."