TOKYO (Nov. 4)—Bridgestone Corp.'s net income for the first three quarters of 2005 nearly doubled to $1.41 billion because of a $722 million gain arising from the return of a substantial portion of an employee pension plan. The plan covered the Tokyo-based firm and some consolidated Japanese subsidiaries to the Japanese government.
At the same time, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. recorded a $240 million loss in the third quarter—the amount the subsidiary agreed to pay Ford Motor Co. to settle all remaining financial issues related to the tire recalls in 2000 and 2001.
Bridgestone's net sales for the nine-month period rose 9 percent to $17 billion while operating income increased 11 percent to $1.4 billion. Ordinary income climbed 12 percent to $1.28 billion. Bridgestone attributed the increases to appealing new products, increased marketing efforts, strong demand overseas, enhanced productivity and improved logistics efficiencies.
In the tire segment, the company's operating income over nine months gained 8 percent to $1.04 billion a 9-percent sales increase to $13.5 billion. Bridgestone said the earnings contribution from this sales growth offset rising raw materials costs.
The tire maker said performance in the Americas is on a recovery track despite concerns about the devastating impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita during the third quarter. Operating income in the Americas surged 57 percent during the nine-month period to $362 million on a 10-percent increase in sales to $7.4 billion.