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Sumitomo forecasts 7% sales growth in "13

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KOBE, Japan—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is projecting solid sales and earnings gains this year, with all three of its business units—tires, sporting goods and industrial—contributing to the improvement.

The company is forecasting 7-percent sales growth this year, to $7.62 billion, along with 5-percent operating income growth and 16-percent net earnings growth, to $73.1 million and $41 million, respectively.

Sumitomo did not provide commentary on the reasons for its optimism. The figures were disclosed in a fiscal 2012 financial summary report posted on the company's website.

The company is projecting 7-percent sales and 5-percent operating income growth for its tire division, to $6.63 billion and $661 million, respectively, based in part on growth in overseas OE and replacement tire demand.

Tire division growth is supported by expanding production capacity, the company said. SRI's global tire production capacity grew 7 percent last year to 49.9 million metric tons per year and is expected to rise 4 percent this year to 51.6 million metric tons, in part because of the opening of the company's plant in Brazil and continued expansion in Thailand.

For fiscal 2012, SRI reported sales in North America slipped 1.2 percent to $1.02 billion. Sumitomo sells tires in North America under the Sumitomo and Falken brand names. The revenue figure also includes sales for its sporting goods and industrial divisions.
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