Michelin net profit up, raises target for 2015 image

Michelin (MICP.PA), the world’s second-largest tiremaker, Friday said operating profit rose 14.7% to EUR1.94 billion from EUR1.70 billion in 2011.

The French giant said sales volumes rose 6.7% thanks to growth in emerging markets, which offset weaker demand in parts of Europe.

Net profit rose 39% to EUR1.46-billion from EUR1.05-billion, ahead of analysts’ expectations of around EUR1.27-billion.

Looking ahead, Michelin confirmed its ambition to drive at least 25% growth and generate positive free cash flow over the 2011-2015 period, and has raised its 2015 operating income target to €2.5 billion.

In 2012, Michelin aims to hold volumes steady as global tire markets experience varying degrees of growth, in an environment that will remain favorable in the new markets but be less buoyant in Europe.

The French comapany, which ranks behind Bridgestone of Japan in global production, raised 1.2 billion euros in a 2010 share issue to finance an emerging market expansion equivalent to adding a new plant each year.

Michelin said it completed private placement of its entire stake in Hankook Tire Co., Ltd.

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