HANOVER, Germany—Continental A.G.'s Rubber Technologies business unit reported a marked improvement in operating earnings in the quarter ended March 31 on 6.6 percent higher sales.
The unit, which comprises Conti's tires and ContiTech non-tire rubber products businesses, reported sales of $5.1 billion and an adjusted pre-tax operating (EBIT) margin of 14.5 percent, up five points from the 2020 first quarter.
Conti said the unit's growth before changes in the scope of consolidation and exchange-rate effects was 11.7 percent. It did not elaborate on the tire division results.
Conti will publish its full first-quarter earnings report May 6.
As a corporation, Conti reported 3.5 percent higher sales of $12.4 billion and an adjusted EBIT margin of 8.1 percent.
Continental said it continues to experience numerous challenges in its business activities, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage of semiconductors, increasing costs for raw materials, constraints related to logistics as well as uncertainty and volatility in customer demand.
In addition, the planned increase in research and development expenses in the Autonomous Mobility and Safety business area will have a greater effect in subsequent quarters.
Conti said it stands by its earlier forecast for fiscal 2021 of an adjusted EBIT margin in the 5 percent to 6 percent range on sales of $49 billion to $51 billion.
This outlook assumes the company's Powertrain Technologies business remains fully consolidated for the entire year, Conti said. Depending on developments related to the planned spin-off of Vitesco Technologies in the second half of fiscal 2021, Continental will adjust the outlook.