TOKYO (May 11, 2012)—Bridgestone Corp. reported double-digit improvements in operating and net income for the quarter ended March 31 on 3.1-percent higher sales, reflecting the firm's efforts to leverage its resources more effectively in the face of challenging economic conditions.
For the quarter, operating income increased 12.8 percent to $794.7 million and net earnings jumped 34.7 percent to $532.9 million. Sales rose to $9.16 billion.
Bridgestone's tire business unit registered a 4.4-percent rise in operating earnings to $718.8 million on 2-percent higher sales of $7.6 billion, as strong consumer and commercial tire sales in the Asia/Pacific region and OTR tires worldwide offset lower unit sales volumes in China, North America and Europe.
The Americas, Bridgestone's largest geographical segment, reported operating income of $336.7 million on sales of $3.95 billion, increases of 17 and 4 percent, respectively.
Bridgestone attributed its earnings gains to its focus on increasing the sales of highly competitive products, strengthening supply capacity, improving manufacturing productivity, enhancing technology and using management resources effectively.
Among the challenges Bridgestone management cited were higher raw materials prices, the continuing strength of the Japanese yen and a damaged European economy. In addition, Asian economic expansion showed signs of a slowdown, particularly in China and India, Bridgestone said.
Company management said it's sticking by the fiscal 2012 projections from February, which forecast double-digit growth in earnings this year on the positive effects of higher selling prices, improved product mix and increased unit sales.
Bridgestone said then it expects a 41-percent gain in operating income to $3.5 billion, 63-percent greater net income of $2.2 billion and sales growth of 7 percent to more than $40 billion.