Tyre and autoparts maker Continental reported a net loss of EUR457.1m in the first half of 2009 compared with a EUR361.1m profit for the same period last year.

H1 sales fell 31.6% to EUR9,063.2m. EBIT fell 79% to EUR935m.

Second quarter sales were down 28.0% to EUR4,761.2m and EBIT fell 53% to EUR283m.

“The improvement in the [Q2]results came primarily from the extensive restructuring and cost-cutting programme in the history of Continental,” said executive board chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann on Thursday in Hanover.

Net debt at 30 June was about EUR1.23bn lower year on year and below EUR10bn for the first time since the acquisition of VDO, the supplier noted.

Neumann said the fragile global economy and financial markets made a full year forecast “difficult”.

“In view of the considerable reduction of inventories in Europe and North America and the lower base values from the second half of 2008, there are hopes of a revival of business activities in the fourth quarter of 2009 in comparison to the same period of 2008, so that the development of sales and earnings in the first half of the year can represent a good basis for the further course of business in 2009.

“We are therefore as­suming, as things look now, that we will be able to comply with our credit agreements throughout the remainder of the year as well, despite the continuing adverse economic con­ditions and existing uncertainties.

“However, the planned plant closures and the announced production adjustments will result in further restructuring ex­penses for the corporation in the coming quarters.”