Michelin will visibly improve its results this year thanks to improved efficiency and a recovery in its markets, its chairman, Edouard Michelin said in an interview published in La Tribune on Monday.


The company expects raw material prices to continue to rise this year but at a slower pace than in 2003, when they punctured the group’s profits.


“In 2004 we certainly anticipate raw material prices to continue to rise but at a slower pace than last year,” Michelin said. “And thanks to more flourishing markets and daily progress in terms of efficiency, we will visibly improve our results compared to 2003.”


Michelin has given no firm forecasts for 2004 except that it hopes to increase operating profit, while it remains vigilant over raw material costs. Edouard Michelin said raw material costs accounted for 22 percent of its sales, including 10 percent directly linked to oil.