TOKYO (Feb. 20) — High raw material prices and low demand in North America contributed to a 53-percent decline in Bridgestone Corp.´s net income in 2006 to $714.5 million.
Bridgestone reported annual sales of $25.1 billion, up 11 percent from 2005 as the company expanded sales of high-value products and launched new products while increasing productivity and capacity. But operating income fell 11 percent to $1.6 billion on high raw material costs.
In Bridgestone´s tire segment, sales rose 11 percent to $20.1 billion though operating income fell 17 percent to $1.17 billion.
In the Americas, Bridgestone reported a 15-percent gain in sales to $11.2 billion as operating income rose 8 percent to $353 million, despite high raw material costs.
The company said its unit sales of passenger car and light truck tires declined in North America in both the original equipment and replacement markets due to an industrywide decrease in demand. But company management said it expects to see an increase in unit sales in North America in 2007.
For 2007, Bridgestone expects to post sales of $25.9 billion — a 3-percent gain — and net income of $755.6 million — a 6-percent improvement.