Kimi Riakkonen’s Michelin clad McLaren won the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. The result opened up the driver’s championship race, putting the Finnish driver back in contention. The remaining podium positions were taken the Ferrari and Toyota of brothers Michael and Ralph Schumacher. Michael Schumacher’s second place was one of Bridgestone’s highest placings this year, alongside the well-documented US Grand Prix.
Analysts are predicting that Continental will record strong EBITA growth “in the magnitude of 30 – 35 per cent,” alongside “limited sales growth” when the company reports its second quarter figures tomorrow. “However, this will be nearer 2-3 per cent on a like for like basis due to a particularly strong second quarter in 2004 (i.e. passenger car sales went up 9 per cent in the second quarter of 2004). Due to higher Capex and the full payment of the dividend, we don’t expect any debt reduction in the second quarter. Debt reduction should accelerate in the the third and fourth quarters,” the Deutsche Bank analysts added.
The joint venture between Pirelli and Roadone Tyre Co Ltd, which was previously announced in June has been completed following approval from the relevant authorities. The joint venture, which is majority owned by Pirelli with approximately 60 per cent of the share capital, aims to produce radial truck tyres in the Shandong Province. The new company will serve the Chinese market and others in South East Asia. Pirelli says that the company expects to make an initial investment of approximately 60 million euros.
According to the company, this latest development confirms the strategy of expansion in the Chinese market, where it plans to invest approximately 150 million euros over the next three years, as announced in November 2004. The Chinese market is the world’s fastest growing for road transportation with a total production in 2004 of more than 100 million sets of radial tyres, representing approximately 50 per cent of the overall tyre output in China, with a 33 per cent increase over the previous year.