TOKYO (Aug. 18, 2016) — Bridgestone Corp. reported an 8 percent fall in operating income, to $2.16 billion, on first-half net sales of $16.3 billion — 11 percent less than the first half of 2015.
Sales at the group's tires business were 13 percent of sales, at $13.1 billion, while operating income fell 3 percent to $1.96 billion, according to the half-year report issued Aug 9.
The declines were a bit less severe at Bridgestone's Diversified Products segment: sales fell 3 percent to $2.97 billion and operating income was down 5 percent to $19 million.
Regionally, first-half sales fell by 10 percent in Japan to $5.13 billion and 14 percent in North America to $8.13 billion.
Sales in the Middle East and Africa rose 15 percent to $2.41 billion, though that partly reflected the move of Middle East and Africa sales from “other regions” to the groups “European' results.” This change was a factor in a 27-percent fall in “other regions” sales to $31.7 billion.
In the original equipment market, passenger car radial tire demand fell 3 percent in Japan but increased by 4 percent in North America and 5 percent in Europe. Demand for original equipment products in the truck/bus radial tire sector grew by 3 percent in Japan and 12 percent in Europe but slumped 18 percent in North America.
By contrast, replacement PCR and TBR product sales came in level or increased slightly in these three regions during the first six months of the year.
Overall, Bridgestone said the group's half-year performance reflected the impact of a stronger than expected Yen and lower selling prices due to declines in raw materials prices.
The company reported higher sales of passenger car tires, including steady demand for “strategic” products but a decline in truck and bus tire sales.
Excluding currency factors, operating income increased with “a good balance between sales volume and quality of business,” according to Bridgestone's financial statement.
For the full year, Bridgestone forecast demand for OE passenger car tires to show increases of 5 percent, 4 percent and 2 percent in Europe, North America and Asia respectively, and end the year level in Japan.
Sales are also expected to hold up or increase slightly in the PCR replacement market and in the TBR market — with the notable exception of an 18 percent drop predicted for TBR sales in North America, Bridgestone said.
This report first appeared on the website of European Rubber Journal, a United Kingdom-based sister publication of Tire Business.