AKRON-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Titan Wheel International Inc. reported year-end sales and earnings increases while three other tire industry companies-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Brad Ragan Inc. and Myers Industries Inc.-found rough operating conditions hampered profits. Bridgestone
Higher tire and non-tire sales in North and South America helped Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. post a 348-percent increase in net earnings last year, Bridgestone Corp. announced Feb. 28.
BFS earned $130 million on an 8.2-percent increase in sales to $6.14 billion from $5.67 billion in 1994.
Tokyo-based Bridgestone reported its consolidated, worldwide sales increased 5.7 percent to $16.4 billion. Operating profit jumped 14.9 percent last year to $1.38 billion, while net earnings leapt even higher: 69.9 percent to $525 million.
The company forecast a 38.5 percent increase in BFS' earnings this year to $180 million on a 5.8-percent increase in sales to $6.50 billion.
Despite record sales, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s 1995 net income slid 12.2 percent from 1994's record $128.5 million to $112.8 million, the second-highest result in the Findlay, Ohio-based company's history.
For the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, net income dropped 13.3 percent to $33.9 million, though sales climbed 5.7 percent to $381.9 million.
Chairman Patrick W. Rooney said Cooper shipped a record number of tires in 1995, but industrywide discounting prevented the company from recovering cost increases in raw materials.
Titan Wheel International, the Quincy, Ill.-based parent of Titan Tire Corp. and Dico Tire Inc., netted its fourth consecutive year and 16th consecutive quarter of record sales and earnings last Dec. 31.
Annual net income surged 105.5 percent to $38 million. Sales leapt 53.1 percent to $623.2 million.
Fourth-quarter net earnings climbed 83 percent to $9.75 million on a 38.1-percent gain in sales to $158.3 million.
Titan attributed the positive results to improved operating efficiencies at its plants, combined with greater market penetration for its wheel and tire assemblies and the successful negotiation of long-term contracts with a number of key customers.
A difficult operating environment contributed to lower fourth-quarter and year-end net income for Goodyear subsidiary Brad Ragan Inc., a retail/commercial/retreading operation based in Charlotte, N.C.
For the year, income plummeted 64.7 percent to $1.36 million from $3.84 million in 1994.
Revenues during the 12 months inched up 0.9 percent to $251,142.
The firm had a fourth-quarter loss of $843,000. Revenues dipped 3.1 percent to $61.3 million.
``Lower income from consumer installment credit sales, constrained product availability, lower than expected December sales, higher interest expense and costs associated with a commercial retread business consolidation'' all attributed to the lower earnings, the company said.
Still, Brad Ragan President and CEO W.P. Brophey said a positive cash flow helped the company upgrade its facilities and equipment.
Akron-based Myers Industries Inc., parent of Patch Rubber Co. and Myers Tire Supply, reported reduced earnings for 1995 despite record sales.
Net sales for the year climbed 9.7 percent to $300.7 million, a new high. Net income, however, fell 10.4 percent to $16 million.
For the fourth quarter, net income dropped 14.9 percent to $4.53 million on a 4.1-percent increase in net sales to $83 million.
The company said Patch Rubber will stop manufacturing precure tread rubber at its plant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., by April because of low profit margins. A Myers spokesman said Patch had produced pre-cured treads for the private-label use of other firms and will convert that capacity to higher margin items.
The company will continue to manufacture and distribute its other tire repair and tire-related products, the spokesman said.