TOKYOBridgestone Corp. reported single-digit gains in operating income and sales for fiscal 2014, and company management anticipates more of the same for fiscal 2015.
Operating income increased 9.1 percent to $4.52 billion on 3-percent higher sales of $34.7 billion, yielding an operating ratio of 13 percent. Net income jumped 48.8 percent to $2.84 billion.
For fiscal 2015, Bridgestone management is forecasting a 9-percent improvement in operating income on 8-percent higher sales, with the diversified products businesses providing the lion's share of the earnings increase.
Bridgestone's tire business reported a 9.1-percent improvement in operating income in fiscal 2014 to $4.12 billion on 1.9-percent better sales of $29.2 billion; the operating margin rose one full percentage point to 14.1 percent.
Bridgestone attributed the overall earnings improvement to favorable foreign exchange gains and reduced costs for raw materials, which together provided more than $1.1 billion in bottom-line benefits.
The company said unit sales gains outstripped the revenue gains, in part because of the exchange rate changes.
Replacement market demand for both consumer and commercial tires was up in all regions, Bridgestone said, including 5- and 10-percent improvements, respectively, in North America. OE tire demand also grew in most regions, the exceptions being Europe and Asia (outside of Japan).
For 2015, Bridgestone is forecasting double-digit gains for operating income and sales revenue in the Americas, based on 5-percent higher demand for replacement passenger tires and 6- to 10-percent for truck/bus tires.