FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- German tiremaker Continental AG expects sales and earnings before interest and taxes to rise next year from the record levels it expects in 2004, its boss said on Friday.
"We are well positioned for 2005," Continental Chief Executive Manfred Wennemer told reporters in Frankfurt.
"And after three quarters, Continental is on its way to another record year in 2004, despite the oil and raw material prices," Wennemer said.
The CEO added Continental had received a "large" order in the United States for electronic stability control systems.
"It's in the same direction as with Ford, only a different carmaker," he said, referring to a contract received in early August to supply Ford SUVs with the technology.
He reaffirmed that the company would boost 2004 earnings before interest and taxes by more than the 120 million euros ($149.7 million) it will take as a charge for stopping production of passenger-car tires in Mayfield, Ky.
Continental had operating profit of 855 million euros ($1.07 billion) in 2003.
Wennemer added that third-quarter earnings before interest and taxes growth, excluding the one-off effects from the Mayfield charge would be "fully in line with what we have seen in the first and second quarters".
Wennemer said he was not optimistic that Continental would avoid a low-double-digit million euro writedown should it have to exit a Russian joint venture with partner Moscow Tire Plant, but he added that this would not affect its 2004 forecast.
Wennemer added that the company had made "small concessions" to the European Union on the takeover of rival Phoenix.
"We've made small concessions (to the EU) and we're confident that with this step the deal now will go through," Wennemer said.
Wennemer had said last month that 2005 sales and profits would at least match those of 2004.