TOKYO (Feb. 20)—Bridgestone Corp. expects challenging trading conditions during 2004, because of rising raw material costs and the weakness of the dollar, despite good tire market prospects in the U.S. and Europe.
The negative factors "could offset the positive contribution from generally strong economic trends," to leave operating income around a third lower than in 2003, Bridgestone said in releasing its fiscal 2003 results and 2004 forecast.
For 2003, Bridgestone posted an operating income basically unchanged at $1.58 billion, on 2003 sales of $19.9 billion, 2 percent higher than in the previous year. The results reflected a year of differing fortunes in each main global regions, including strong gains in Europe.
Bridgestone forecasts gains of 6 and 5 percent, respectively, for sales and operating earnings for Bridgestone Americas in 2004.