Michelin sales skid but tyre giant keeps grip on profit

French tyre manufacturer Michelin said on Monday it remained profitable in 2020 despite a pandemic-induced drop sales, thanks in part to prices dropping on raw materials.

With auto sales taking a hit worldwide, Michelin also saw its sales drop by 15 percent to 20 billion euros ($24.3 billion).

The firm’s net profit meanwhile fell by nearly two-thirds from 2019, to 1.9 billion euros.

Michelin has been trying to move upmarket with a greater focus on premium tyres and specialist products, and the shift in its product mix helped earnings in 2020.

Meanwhile it cut administration costs by 240 million euros and cut investments by nearly a third.

In January, the firm announced it hoped to shed 2,300 posts in France over the coming three years without any forced layoffs.

Michelin said “in a still highly uncertain environment as the health crisis unfolds” that it expected the passenger car and light truck tyre markets to expand by 6 to 10 percent this year.

For trucks it sees an increase of between 4 and 8 percent, and 8 to 12 percent in speciality markets.

It hopes operating profits will jump to at least 2.5 billion euros next year. Agence France-Presse

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