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UPDATE 1-Michelin 2020 net profit plunges but dividend increased

PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - French tyre maker Michelin’s said 2020 full-year net profit plunged to 625 million euros from 1.73 billion in 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic hit earnings, but the firm sees up to 10% growth in its markets this year and boosted its dividend.

Sales dropped 15% last year to 20 billion euros ($24.3 billion) and operating income nearly halved to 1.40 billion euros from 2.69 billion in 2019, while “segment operating income” plunged to 1.88 billion euros from more than 3 billion.

For 2021, Michelin is targeting segment operating income in excess of 2.5 billion euros at constant exchange rates.

Michelin said that for 2021 the business environment remained highly uncertain as the health crisis unfolds, but it still forecast that passenger car and light truck tire markets will expand 6% to 10% and truck tire markets 4% to 8%.

The company, which employs 123,600 staff, said it proposed a dividend of 2.3 euros, from 2 euros on 2019 earnings.

$1 = 0.8241 euros Reporting by GV De Clercq Editing by David Goodman and David Evans

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