TOKYO (Aug 14, 2001)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. posted an operating loss of $74 million in the first six months of 2001, as the company dealt with inventory reductions, rising raw materials prices and increasing competition, parent Bridgestone Corp. said. The loss contrasts with a $290 million profit a year ago.
BFS´s sales, influenced by the weakening yen/dollar conversion rate, rose 5 percent to $3.7 billion.
Overall, Bridgestone Corp. slid $255 million into the red in the first half, as it took $573 million in extraordinary charges to cover costs associated with the recall of Firestone tires in North America and the scheduled closing of the Decatur, Ill., tire plant.
The firm's operating profit slid 60 percent to $261 million, while sales rose 3.7 percent to $8.56 billion, aided by weaker yen to dollar and euro exchange rates.
For the remainder of the year, Bridgestone forecasts it will continue to operate in the black, although earnings of $85 million will be 44 percent below the fiscal 2000 performance. Bridgestone's tire segment sales rose 4 percent in the period, to $6.65 billion, on strong demand for company products in Europe and Asia and the weakening value of the yen. Operating profits fell 51 percent, to $302 million, as raw material costs climbed and the company made production adjustments to reduce U.S. inventories.