Specialty tyres fuel Michelin’s third-quarter sales beat

PARIS (Reuters) -Michelin reported better-than expected third quarter sales on Monday, due in part to a strong rebound in demand for tyres for agricultural machinery.

The group, which makes tyres used in cars, aircraft, bicycles and industrial equipment, said sales totalled 6 billion euros ($6.98 billion) for July to September, up from 5.78 billion in the same period last year.

Analysts polled by the company had predicted quarterly sales of 5.80 billion euros.

The rise in sales came in spite of a global shortage in semiconductor chips, which has forced carmakers still recovering from coronavirus disruptions to cut production as they compete for supplies with the consumer electronics industry.

Michelin’s sales were still down from 6.12 billion euros in the third quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, and the group maintained its financial forecasts for 2021.

Chief Executive Florent Menegaux said the group posted “a very solid performance,” in spite of “major disruptions in our supply chains and sharp spikes in energy and other costs.”

The group cited rising raw material costs and worsening labour shortages in North America and to a lesser extent in Europe.

However, rising grain and metals prices helped Michelin sell more tires for mining and farm machinery.

Though demand for truck tyres grew in most of the world during the three months, it fell sharply in China following exceptionally high levels in 2020, when fleets upgraded ahead of new emission regulations, Michelin said.

($1 = 0.8593 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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