Continental, the German maker of tyres and car parts, said Thursday it booked stable profits last year in the face of weak European demand and the strong euro. "Continental demonstrated strength ... despite weak European automotive markets and negative exchange rate effects of a considerable magnitude," the company said in a statement. Net profit reached 1.923 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in 2013, more or less steady from 1.905 billion euros a year earlier. Sales grew by 1.8 percent to 33.331 billion euros. "In 2013 we achieved very good results and continued to pursue our goals reliably, rigorously, and efficiently. Looking back, we achieved more than anticipated overall," said chief executive Elmar Degenhart. And the company has "got off to a solid start in the first quarter of 2014," Degenhart said. "We are reckoning here with a 3-to-4-percent rise in sales," he said. The continuously unfavourable development of exchange rates "is weighing on our performance. It is likely to have a negative impact of up to four percentage points on sales growth in the first quarter of 2014." Underlying profit in the first quarter "will be higher than the comparable figure in the previous year," Degenhart added.