TOKYO — Higher-than-expected raw-materials costs and a U.S. market slowdown have prompted Bridgestone Corp. to cut its forecast for full-year operating income and sales by 7 and 1 percent, respectively.
The downgrade reflected the emergence of a more "challenging business environment" since the firm's previous financial guidance of Aug. 9.
The forecast accompanied Bridgestone's financial results report for the quarter and nine months ended Sept. 30, which showed operating income declines of 12 and 9 percent, respectively, for the two reporting periods to $877.4 million and $2.7 billion.
Sales for the quarter and nine months were up 15.3 and 8.9 percent, respectively, to $8.3 billion and $24 billion. The operating ratio for both periods dropped, to 10.6 and 11.3 percent, respectively.
Net income grew 10.4 and 10.8 percent for the quarter and nine months to $594.2 million and $1.78 billion, respectively.
In the Tires division, operating income for the quarter fell 12.3 percent to $804.3 million on 16.3-percent higher sales of $6.92 billion. Operating income for the nine months dipped 9 percent to $2.47 billion on 10.5-percent higher sales of $19.9 billion.
Bridgestone attributed the drop in profit solely to rising raw materials costs.
Revenue growth, meanwhile, was linked to increased passenger and truck/bus tire sales in Japan, higher truck/bus tire sales in North America and across-the-board sales increases in Europe, China and Asia/Pacific.
These were offset, however, by significantly lower passenger and light truck tires sales in North America.
While raw materials costs remained higher than expected through nine months, Bridgestone now foresees some respite on the materials front, projecting the full-year impact of these costs to be 8.6-percent lower than its previous forecast.