TOKYO (May 2, 2006) — Bridgestone Corp. reported improved operating and net income in the first quarter on 16.7-percent higher sales, although the earnings gains were muted by higher raw materials costs.
Bridgestone's activities in North and South America contributed heavily to the gains, as they reported 24.6-percent higher sales and 76.7-percent better operating income. The Tokyo-based tire maker attributed the earnings gain to the firm's efforts to address rising raw materials costs. Sales grew despite lower unit sales of passenger and light truck tires in both the orginal equipment and replacement markets; unit sales of truck tires were up, led by OE growth.
For the quarter ended March 31, Bridgestone reported 3.8-percent better net income of $230.4 million on sales of $5.99 billion. Business expanded in all the firm's geographic regions, including Japan, where Bridgestone said the economy is recovering. Operating income was up 7.7 percent to $403.1 million.
The tire division reported 3.5-percent higher operating income of $301 million on 16.9-percent higher sales of $4.77 billion.