TOKYO — Bridgestone Corp.'s operating income for the half year ended June 30 fell 7.3 percent despite 5.8-percent higher sales.
Bridgestone blamed increasing raw materials costs for the earnings decline.
Operating income fell to $1.8 billion while sales rose to $15.5 billion, lowering the operating ratio one and a half points to 11.6 percent. Net income rose 6.9 percent to $1.17 billion.
The tire division reported similar results — operating income down 6.7 percent to $1.65 billion on 6.4-percent higher sales of $12.8 billion.
Globally, unit sales of passenger/light truck tires rose 3 percent, with sales of larger rim diameter (18 inches and larger) tires up 20 percent. Truck/bus radial sales were up 9 percent.
Bridgestone said unit sales of passenger/light truck tires in North America fell, but sales of truck/bus tires "increased strongly" vs. 2016.
In Europe, Japan and China/Asia-Pacific, unit sales were up for passenger/light truck tires and truck/bus tires.
Globally, sales of large and ultra-large OTR tires were up 45 and 15 percent, respectively, over 2016.
Bridgestone's net sales in the Americas rose 5 percent to $7.68 billion, but operating income for the region dropped 12.9 percent to $802 million.
Despite the lower first-half earnings, Bridgestone is raising its sales and profit forecasts for the full fiscal year by 1.9 and 2.7 percent over its earlier projections, yielding a 12.5-percent operating ratio.
The company anticipates fiscal 2017 passenger/light truck tire sales growth of 5 percent and 6 to 10 percent for truck/bus tires.
In North America, Bridgestone sees demand for passenger/light truck tires to be flat vs. 2016 in both OE and replacement, whereas demand for truck tires should continue at the 6- to 10-percent pace.