Continental, the German maker of car parts and tires, raced ahead to record sales and operating profit in 2004, its chairman said on Tuesday. According to preliminary figures, Continental notched up operating profit, as measured by earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA), of "substantially more than €1billion ($1.3 billion)," chairman Manfred Wennemer said. The figure did not include restructuring charges connected with the closure of a plant in Mayfield in the United States. In 2003, Continental booked EBITA of €855 million. Continental was scheduled to publish final 2004 figures on March 31. In view of the favorable results, the car parts maker was considering raising its dividend, the chairman added.