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Bridgestone parent, subsidiary announce profits in 2002

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Bridgestone Corp., parent company of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH), reported worldwide group net sales of $18.7 billion in 2002, a 5% increase compared to the previous year.

The company's net earnings of $378 million were 161% greater than in 2001. (Dollar equivalents for the 2002 results were computed at a rate of Y119.9 to the U.S. dollar.)

In the Americas, Bridgestone posted net income of $83 million on net sales of $7.6 billion. In 2001, Bridgestone/Firestone lost $1.67 billion.

The improved BSAH results reflect a 30% increase in the sales of Bridgestone-brand tires, according to the company. In addition, the Firestone brand, which the company says experienced strong sales in the second half of the year, stabilized.

The 2002 results also reflect record service sales and profits posted by BFS Retail and Commercial Operations LLC. The BSAH subsidiary is made up of more than 2,200 company-owned tire and service centers.

"While we’re not where we need to be, these results show we are on the right track in our turnaround plan," says Mike Gorey, controller and vice president of BSAH. "Our 51,000 employees in the Americas deserve a lot of credit for their hard work, but the job isn’t finished. We still face real challenges to keep the positive momentum going."

Gorey cited the following challenges facing the tire business in 2003:

* the rising cost of fuel and raw materials.

* pressures on pension plan funding "caused by a turbulent stock market and sky rocketing health insurance costs."

BSAH is projecting an increase in 2003 sales to $7.9 billion.

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