Bridgestone posts big gains in net income, sales through three quarters

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Bridgestone Corp. recorded net income of $713 million on net sales of $21.4 billion for the first three quarters of its 2007 fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Tire sales represented nearly 81%, or $17.3 billion.

In yen, Bridgestone was up 64% in net income (to 82.3 billion) and 14% in net sales (to 2.46 trillion). Operating income was up 32% through three quarters.

Bridgestone said it continued its efforts "to increase production capacity in strategic product lines" during the first nine months, and benefited from its "strengths in research and development." Putting that in context, Bridgestone listed the following as factors affecting the business environment over that span:

1. persistent global movement in the cost of crude oil and other raw materials.

2. consistent, gradual recovery in the Japanese economy, the result of improving corporate earnings and increases in capital spending.

3. solid expansion in the United States economy based on sustained strength in consumer spending (despite a significant slowdown in housing construction and residential mortgage activity).

4. continued economic recovery in Europe, supported by increasing capital investment.

5. strong economic growth in China, and steady expansion in other Asian economies.

In North and South America, Bridgestone's operating income and sales increased 26% and 14%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2006. Passenger and light truck tire unit sales grew steadily, according to the company. Unit sales of truck and bus tires declined significantly, due mostly to the decrease in original equipment sales.

Bridgestone projects net income of 109 billion yen on net sales of 3.37 trillion yen for its fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2007.

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