Michelin & Cie., the world’s second-largest tire maker, said Friday its first-half earnings jumped 36 percent because of lower commodity prices and higher demand for specialty tires for earthmovers, aircraft and farm tractors.
Operating profit excluding one-time gains and losses advanced to $1.62 billion from $1.19 billion a year earlier, Michelin said Friday. Analysts had expected operating profit of $1.57 billion, based on the average of four estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Mining-equipment and service suppliers such as Helsinki-based Metso Oyj are reporting that sales have held firm, while Airbus SAS and Boeing Co., the two biggest plane manufacturers, are increasing deliveries.
Michelin, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, said it’s sticking to a forecast of a “clear increase” in operating profit as currency effects and lower supply costs make up for a decline in volume.
“The market should be pleased by these figures” as earnings beat estimates and Michelin held to its forecast, said Michael Foundoukidis, a Paris-based analyst at Natixis who recommends buying Michelin shares, in a note to clients. “Michelin benefits from its strong premium exposure,” allowing it to charge more for its products.
Michelin rose as much as 5.1 percent to $66.16, the highest intraday price since May 14, and was trading up 4.4 percent later. The stock has gained 17 percent this year, valuing the manufacturer at $11.96 billion.
First-half net income rose 37 percent from a year earlier to $1.12 billion. Revenue increased 5.9 percent to $13.2 billion as Michelin sold more expensive tires.
The company said in April that annual additional costs from rising raw material prices will probably total $369 million to $430 million. After gains in the first quarter, the price of natural rubber has fallen 43 percent in the past 12 months, while crude oil has slipped 7.9 percent.
Revenue from tires for cars and light trucks rose 4.7 percent to $6.7 billion, the company said. Heavy-truck tires sales advanced 0.1 percent to $4.02 billion. Sales from specialty tires for airplanes and construction equipment, Michelin’s most profitable business, increased 22 percent to $2.38 billion, driven by growth in demand from mining companies and farmers.
Michelin is targeting $3.07 billion in operating profit by 2015, helped by $1.23 billion of cost savings at its industry and services business over five years.
Jean-Dominique Senard became sole chief executive in May of the French tire maker, which ranks behind Bridgestone Corp. of Japan in global production, following the retirement of Michel Rollier, a member of the Michelin family with whom he had shared the role.