(Reuters) – Michelin reported record annual operating profit on Monday, driven by the delayed impact of price adjustments made in 2022, but the tire maker remains cautious for the current fiscal year, citing a tough environment. “uncertain” market.

The Clermont-based group recorded an operating profit from the sectors of 3.57 billion euros in 2023, exceeding the forecasts of analysts who expected an average of 3.42 billion euros, according to a consensus compiled by Michelin.

“We are in a market context which remains complicated, a European situation which is not very bright, a China which is restarting but not with growth as strong as it was a few years ago, and lots of other unknowns,” financial director Yves Chapot said in an interview with Reuters.

Whether it is the global market for cars, that of trucks or specialty machines, two wheels and planes, Michelin’s projection oscillates between -2% and +2% in 2024, according to a presentation posted online by the group.

“We have no reason to imagine that the market will rebound strongly, it will be more or less stable, let’s hope we are wrong, but at this stage, this is what we anticipate”, specified Florent Menegaux, general manager of Michelin, during a conference call with analysts.

Logistical problems linked to the Red Sea, which forced the group to preventively interrupt production at several factories in Europe in January, weighed on a total of 4% of Michelin’s flow of finished products and raw materials, mainly natural rubber. , continued Yves Chapot, for whom this crisis will have a “reasonably marginal” impact on the 2024 results.

Michelin now expects operating profit from the sectors to exceed 3.5 billion euros in 2024, while analysts on average expected 3.59 billion euros. The group will organize an investors day at the end of May to present new medium-term objectives for 2026.

(Written by Olivier Cherfan and Augustin Turpin in Gdansk, with Gilles Guillaume in Paris, edited by Kate Entringer and Tangi Salaün)

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