NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Corp. said its consolidated net income rose 58 percent in 2005 to $1.53 billion 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 onetime 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 onetime recognition of a deferred tax asset. The year marked Bridgestone Americas fourth consecutive profitable year.
"This year marks an historic milestone for our company," said John Vispo, Bridgestone Americas vice president of 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 didn´t disclose Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C.´s profit before tax, its first since the unit was formed in late 2001.
The company said Bridgestone Firestone Americas Holding Inc. sales should grow to about $11 billion in 2006 as net income is projected at about $150 million.
In 2005 the company said 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 problems to continue this year.
Improved productivity, cost containment efforts and recently implemented price increases will help the firm overcome these problems, Vispo said.