PARIS -- Tire maker Michelin posted a smaller-than-expected 1.8 percent dip in 2003 revenues on Thursday as a strong euro and high raw material costs wiped out stronger volume sales and a boost from its purchase of tire retailer Viborg.
Michelin, Europe's biggest tire maker, said in a statement that sales totaled $19,682 billion compared with $20,035 billion. Thirteen analysts polled by Reuters forecast on average 2003 sales of $19,555 billion.
Stripping out the effect of a strong euro vs. the U.S. dollar and other currencies, and of its Viborg acquisition, sales rose 5 percent.
Michelin said fourth-quarter sales rose 6.6 percent to $5.405 billion, thanks to a $401 million boost from the consolidation of Viborg in its accounts and a 5.8 percent rise in volumes.
The company said its business environment, in terms of tire markets, exchange rates and raw material costs, was roughly the same as in October, when it forecast a full-year operating margin below 2002's level.