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The sales of SKF's products and services increased 7% in the fourth quarter and 3% for the full year, measured in local currencies. After a weak start, sales in Europe grew in the second half of the year while sales leveled off in North America in the fourth quarter. Sales in Asia were strong throughout the year. SKF improved its positions in a number of market segments.
The Group's production volume increased by 4% compared to the figure for 2001, which led to better capacity utilization.
The recovery in the market demand for SKF's products and services is expected to continue during the first quarter. The production volume will be kept at the present level.
The operating profit for the fourth quarter 2002 amounted to $131 million. The figure for the full year was $471 million.
Net sales for the fourth quarter 2002 amounted to $1,249 million, a decrease of 3.8% compared with 2001. Net sales for the full year amounted to $4,971 million, a decrease of 2.2% compared with 2001.
The decrease in net sales for the fourth quarter 2002 was attributable to: structure 1.4%, volume 3.9%, price/mix 1.7% and currency effect -10.8% compared to the fourth quarter 2001. A comparison between the full years 2002 and 2001 shows: structure 1.6% volume -0.1%, price/mix 1.5% and currency effect -5.2%.