TOKYO (Aug 10)—Bridgestone Corp. has boosted its net profit forecast for fiscal 2004 by 39 percent, citing continued sales growth, improved tire prices and a better product mix.
Bridgestone increased its forecast despite expecting a challenging business environment throughout the rest of the year, company management said in a prepared statement. Bridgestone now expects 2004 net profit of about $945 million (4.4 percent of sales) instead of the $680 million forecast six months ago. The revised figure would be 17-percent better than the $800 million recorded last year.
For the six months ended June 30, Bridgestone reported net profit rose 64 percent to $482 million while operating profit grew 29 percent to $833 million, exceeding the firm's revised forecasts in May. First-half sales rose 3.7 percent to $10.6 billion, aided by a 4-percent increase in tire sales mainly on healthy demand outside Japan.
Bridgestone reported a seven-fold jump in operating income in its operations in the Americas to $143 million on a 1.7-percent increase in sales to $4.48 billion. Unit sales improved in both consumer and commercial tires, the company reported, and business in Latin America was particularly strong.