TOKYO (May 12, 2004) — Better-than-expected overseas sales and a weakening of the yen/dollar exchange rate prompted Bridgestone Corp. to raise its first-half earnings projection.
For the six months ending June 30, Bridgestone expects an operating profit of around $774 million — a third higher than it predicted just three months ago — and sales of $10.7 billion, in line with its earlier forecast.
The upgraded forecast accompanied the Tokyo-based tire maker's first quarter results announcement, in which the group posted operating earnings of $446 million on sales of $5.29 billion, amid “favorable” business conditions. Economic recovery proceeded steadily in the U.S., gradual economic recovery in Europe and strong economic growth continued in Southeast Asia and in China, the company said.
Comparisons with prior years is not possible as Bridgestone did not disclose quarterly results previously.
Bridgestone's tire business posted first-quarter operating income of $365 million on sales of $4.22 billion. Operating profitability was hit by “the surging cost of raw materials,” though sales strengthened on rising overseas demand, new product launches and vigorous marketing, the firm noted.
Bridgestone's sales in the Americas were $2.17 billion, as strong replacment market sales of passenger and light truck tires offset a sales decline in original equipment. Sales of truck and bus tires in the region grew strongly, the group added.
Operating income in the Americas of $72.9 million was affected negatively by surging raw material costs, the tire maker said.