- Sluggish markets, except in North America and China
Weaker demand for Passenger Car/Light Truck and Truck tires, in the winter segments in Europe, and for original equipment (OE) in the new markets, except for China.
o Decline in the Agricultural and Mining sectors, softened by a recovery in the OE and Infrastructure market in the Earthmover tire segment.
o Continued robust growth in North America and China.
- In this environment, volumes up by a slight 0.7%
o Sales of MICHELIN brand in line with market trends.
o Specialty tire volumes nearly stable despite the narrower Mining tire and Agricultural segments.
- Changes in price mix and raw materials prices had a €118 million positive impact, as expected.
- Competitiveness plan's gain once again absorbing the effects of inflation on production costs and overheads.
- Strong free cash flow generation at a high €722 million, before the €400-million investment in Sascar but after €1,883 million of capital expenditure.
- Dividend of €2.50 per share, unchanged from last year, to be recommended at the Annual Shareholders Meeting of May 22, 2015, reflecting confidence in the Group's future.
Jean-Dominique Senard, Chief Executive Officer, said: "Last year's results provide further confirmation of the Group's strong fundamentals. This year, we will focus on stepping up our growth drivers, including the launch of new MICHELIN brand ranges and a revamped line-up of our other brands, a significant improvement in the quality of our customer service, and more assertive distribution. The competitiveness plan will also be accelerated and now aims to achieve cumulative savings of €1,200 million over the period 2012-2016, versus €1,000 million previously."
- Outlook for 2015
In 2015, demand in the Passenger Car/Light Truck and Truck segments should continue to grow in North America and China, and also in Europe albeit at a modest rate, while holding firm to last year's trend in the new markets and rebounding in Southeast Asia.
Mining tire customers are likely to make further inventory drawdowns and OE sales in the Agricultural tire segment are expected to be lower, while in the Earthmover segment, OE and Infrastructure business should continue to grow at a modest rate.
In this environment, Michelin is aiming to grow unit sales in line with with global trends in the markets in which it operates. In addition, the Group has set a 2015 target of delivering an increase in operating income before non-recurring income, beyond exchange rate effect, a return on capital employed in excess of 11%, and structural free cash flow of approximately €700 million, with €1.7 − 1.8 billion in capital expenditure.