KOBE, Japan (June 8, 2001) — Despite a 16.9-percent decline in sales last year, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. posted increases in both operating and net earnings, and company management is confident of achieving continued progress this year despite low or no-growth economic forecasts in its key market regions.
For 2001, Sumitomo has consolidated Ohtsu Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. into its accounts and is building additional tire manufacturing capacity in Indonesia to service its Asian markets.
For 2000, Sumitomo's sales stood at $3.92 billion, reflecting the sale of majority control of the Dunlop tire activities in Europe and North America in late 1999 to Goodyear, and the integration of Ohtsu Tire's figures following Sumitomo's taking majority ownership of Ohtsu last year.
Operating income grew 7.1 percent to $235.5 million, while net earnings were up 8.2 percent to $49.4 million. Sumitomo credited its joint purchasing alliance with Goodyear for $18.5 million in savings last year. And in Japan, sales of Goodyear brand tires — now under Sumitomo's control—recorded double-digit growth.