KOBE, Japan (March 15)—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. reported double-digit improvements in operating and net income last year as sales grew 4.5 percent.
Sumitomo's operating profit climbed 20.6 percent to $402.5 million and net income jumped 46.4 percent to $169.5 million as sales hit $4.16 billion. The earnings gains improved the firm's earnings ratios by more than a full point each, to 9.7 and 4.1 percent, respectively.
The earnings gains were paced by Sumitomo's industrial products and sports sectors, the former turning a $10 million loss into a $14.6 million profit and the latter improving 38.5 percent over 2003. Tire division operating income was up 5.4 percent to $290.9 million, while tire sales grew 5.2 percent to $3.15 billion.
During the year Sumitomo increased capital investments 23.2 percent to $343.1 million, including nearly $320 million for tires.
Sumitomo's sales in North America—which include sales by Falken Tire Corp. and Treadways Corp.'s Sumitomo Tire Division—grew 13.6 percent last year to $418 million.
The firm did not provide further commentary on the 2004 results or a 2005 forecast.