TOKYO (Feb. 22, 2002)—Bridgestone Corp. expects earnings this year to more than triple, to nearly $500 million, as it puts behind it the extraordinary Firestone recall-related losses of the past two years.
Net earnings for 2001 slipped 2 percent to $143 million as Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc. suffered a recall-influenced loss of $1.68 billion. For 2002, Bridgestone/Firestone expects to be in the black as sales in the Americas are forecast to rise 4 percent to $7.7 billion.
Bridgestone/Firestone executives base their expectations for increased unit sales on an expanding retail sales network, new ranges of Bridgestone-brand car tires and new supply contracts with truck and bus fleets, Bridgestone said.
The Bridgestone/Firestone Americas loss included an extraordinary charge of $1.5 billion to cover the costs of the recall, related litigation and closing its Decatur, Ill., tire plant.
Globally, sales rose 5 percent in 2001 to $17.5 billion, and are expected to rise about 3 percent this year. Operating earnings fell 27 percent to $967 million, or 5.5 percent of sales.