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Michelin confirms its 2019 guidance as first quarter sales rise

PARIS (Reuters) - Michelin reported higher first quarter sales, helped by its recent acquisitions of the Camso and Fenner businesses, and the French tyre maker stuck to its 2019 financial guidance for a rise in annual, underlying profits.

Sales rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier to 5.81 billion euros (£5.03 billion), broadly in line with forecasts by InFront Data which had an average estimate for sales of 5.82 billion.

Michelin confirmed its 2019 targets for volume growth in line with global market trends, and for a segment operating profit level above that of 2018 on a like-for-like basis, and structural free cash flow of more than 1.45 billion euros.

"In difficult markets, we once again demonstrated the resilience afforded by our group's exposure to different economic sectors, allowing us to confirm our 2019 guidance," said Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard in a statement.

"First-quarter sales also reflect the major contribution of our recent acquisitions, Camso and Fenner," he added.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas)