Sales up, income down for Bridgestone

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Bridgestone Corp. posted net sales of $15.4 billion on net income of $350 million for the first half of 2008. Bridgestone's sales were 2% more than the company achieved during the first half of 2007. However, income was 30% less than last year's first half.


"In the tire segment, (Bridgestone's) operating income in the first half decreased 19% over the previous first half to $572 million, due mainly to increasing raw material costs, on an increase of 2% in sales to $12.5 billion," say Bridgestone officials.


The company "worked to maximize (its) sales momentum by introducing new products worldwide, while at the same time improving and expanding strategic production sites around the world in support of respective product domains."


Bridgestone says it experienced "brisk" passenger and light truck tire sales in North American at the replacement level during the first half, "exceeding those in the previous first half." Growth areas included ultra-high performance tires.


However, the company experienced a decrease in business at the original equipment level in North America, not only in consumer tires, but also in commercial tires. "Unit sales of truck and bus tires decreased markedly year-over-year, primarily due to a decline in sales in the OE sector.


"A defining treand in the first half was the persistent upward movement in the cost of raw materials and other manufacturing components, combined with rising energy costs. There were signs of a slowdown in economic growth in Japan, particularly evidenced by weakening personal consumption."


The United States also experienced an economic slowdown "due to a decrease in housing starts and stagnation in personal consumption," add Bridgestone officials, who note that China and other Asian countries are experiencing "strong economic growth."

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