CHICAGO (April 14, 2004) — Bridgestone/Firestone expects its North American Tire unit to spend another year in the red as raw materials prices continue to soar, executives told hundreds of dealers at the company's Bizcon 8 commercial tire meeting in Chicago.
Though the company held its market share in the replacement market in 2003, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire (BFNT) still lost money, said Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding (BAH).
However, he told dealers that BAH and Tokyo-based parent Bridgestone Corp. both turned profits in 2003 of $78 million and $800 million, respectively.
The main culprit in continuing losses in North America, executives said, is raw materials prices that saw a more than $100 million jump last year. More increases are expected this year. Health care costs also are a factor, they said.
“While we anticipate another year of losses for BFNT, our strength in our other businesses will sustain another year of profitability at Bridgestone Americas Holding,” Mr. Emkes said.