KOBE, Japan (Feb. 26)—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. returned to the black last year, posting $65.8 million in net income on a 3.1-percent increase in sales to $3.58 billion. The sales hike was aided in large part by a 53.2-percent jump in export sales to North America. The company, which markets the Sumitomo, Falken and Ohtsu brands in North America, reported a 40.6-percent gain in operating earnings to $253.5 million on a 27-percent improvement in Japan and a drastic reduction in losses by its overseas operations, Sumitomo said. Sales in North America, which include some sporting goods revenue in addition to the tire business, grew to $290.5 million, and now represent 8.1 percent of Sumitomo's global revenues. Sumitomo's tire sales increased 4.6 percent to $2.64 billion and operating earnings improved 16 percent to $224.6 million.