TOKYO (Aug 10, 2004) — Bridgestone Corp. has boosted its net profit forecast for fiscal 2004 by 39 percent, citing continued sales growth, improved tire prices and a better product mix.
Bridgestone increased its forecast despite a “challenging business environment” expected throughout the rest of 2004, company management said in a prepared statement. Bridgestone now expects 2004 net profit of about $945 million (4.4 percent of sales) instead of the $680 million forecast six months ago.
The revised figure would be 17-percent better than $800 million recorded last year.
For the six months ended June 30, Tokyo-based Bridgestone reported net profit rose 64 percent to $482 million while operating profit grew 29 percent to $833 million, exceeding the firm's revised forecasts in May.
First-half sales rose 3.7 percent to $10.6 billion, aided by a 4-percent increase in tire sales mainly on healthy demand outside Japan. Bridgestone cited a product more skewed to larger sizes and performance specifications as well as enhanced productivity for its improved results.
Bridgestone reported a seven-fold jump in operating income and a nine-fold surge in net earnings in its operations in the Americas, to $159 million and $102 million, on 12-percent better sales of $4.35 billion.
Unit sales improved in both consumer and commercial tires, the company reported, and business in Latin America was particularly strong. Sales are expected to remain strong throughout 2004, the tire maker said.
Sales jumped 10 and 14 percent in Europe and other regions, respectively, while sales in Japan were up only 1 percent.