Goodyear expects to post a loss of $75 million to $85 million for 2004's first quarter though the Akron-based tire maker delayed reporting its exact results for a second time.
Goodyear earlier had said it would post the first quarter results on June 16 but postponed the report and a conference call with investors that morning. That date was set following a delay last month as the company finished its 2003 annual results, which were themselves postponed as the company worked out its restatement and accounting investigation. Goodyear expects to report first quarter results by its June 30 deadline with creditors.
The tire maker said it needed additional time to complete the financial statements. A Goodyear spokesman said the accounting issues investigated overseas plus the final restatement tally on past results-which reduced net income by $280.8 million over the past few years-left the company's finance department with little time to turn out the first quarter results only about a month later.
``We probably wore out our finance department,'' he joked.
The company did provide some estimates for its first quarter. Goodyear said it should reach record sales of $4.3 billion, up from $3.5 billion in 2003's first quarter. Sales in the most recent fourth quarter were $3.91 billion.
Also, Goodyear expects segment operating results to improve in six of seven businesses, including North American Tire (NAT). Goodyear has previously said it expected Asia to be the unimproved business. In 2003's fourth quarter, NAT's operating loss was $15.6 million, a 67.8-percent improvement from the year before. The spokesman could not say if the improved first quarter results would mean another improved loss in segment income or black ink for NAT.
The quarter also will include rationalization charges of about $20 million and income tax of about $55 million. While Goodyear's restatement is largely behind it, the Securities and Exchange Commission still is pursuing its formal investigation into the restatement. The Goodyear spokesman said that investigation is not tied to the most recent delay.
``That (SEC) process is ongoing,'' he said. ``We haven't heard anything different on that.''
Saul Ludwig, an analyst at McDonald Investments Inc. in Cleveland, said he hadn't expected Goodyear to suddenly delay its results the same morning they were to be released, but he doesn't suspect major problems.
``I don't think there's anything sinister beneath the surface,'' he told Tire Business.
He predicts Goodyear's core operations performed in line with expectations or better in the first quarter and that the estimated net loss came from special charges. Mr. Ludwig said Goodyear is ``skittish'' when it comes to reporting financial results in light of the recent restatements and investigations, and the company probably wanted to be absolutely confident of its results.
The announcement also may make some investors nervous, but it shouldn't last, Mr. Ludwig said. Goodyear's stock closed at $8.98 June 16, down 24 cents. Mr. Ludwig maintained his ``hold'' recommendation on the stock.
``Anytime a company at the last minute delays release of their numbers it always spurs questions,'' he said. ``They have a negative overtone.... I think that feeling will be short-lived once the results are officially released.''