Reuters reports that Continental AG has ended its joint venture with Moscow Tyre Plant in Russia in a move that will hit 2004 results by around 30 million euros ($39.85 million), the German tyres and car parts maker said on Friday.

But it added in a statement that it still expected 2004 operating income of above 1 billion euros, excluding restructuring costs for its U.S. passenger tyre business.

Continental has signalled for weeks that it may have to take an eight-figure charge for exiting the venture.

"The executive board of Continental AG decided to withdraw from the joint venture after external influences brought about a change in the basic parameters that precluded any possibility of the venture's attaining the objectives set within the timeframe agreed upon," it said.

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