NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 17) — Bridgestone Corp. reported consolidated net income in 2005 of $1.53 billion — up 58 percent from the prior year — on sales of $22.8 billion as its North American tire business reached a profit before taxes.
Bridgestone´s net income was positively affected by a one-time pension-related gain as well as other extraordinary items, the Japanese tire maker said. Operating income rose 8 percent to $1.81 billion.
In the Americas, Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc. posted an 11-percent rise in net sales to a record $10.2 billion. Net income hit $428 million — an increase of $244 million from 2004 — the firm said. Net income was impacted by a one-time recognition of a deferred tax asset. The year marked BSAH´s fourth consecutive profitable year.
"This year marks an historic milestone for our company," said John Vispo, BSAH vice president, finance. "With the achievement of our first $10 billion sales year, we can truly say that our company has firmly established its rightful place as a leader in the tire and rubber business in the Americas. In addition to our record sales year, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C., our North American tire business, achieved its goal of a profit before tax in 2005 (excluding certain one-time legal expenses) — its first since that company was formed in late 2001."
BFS did not report the tire business´ profit before tax.
In 2006, BSAH expects sales to grow to about $11 billion as net income is projected at about $150 million.
BFS said in 2005 it faced "unprecedented" levels in raw material and energy costs, escalating pension and medical benefit expenses and the impact of last fall´s hurricanes. The tire maker expects many of these challenges to continue this year.
"While the road ahead will be a difficult one, we plan to address these challenges head-on through improved productivity, cost containment efforts and recently implemented price increases," Vispo said.