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Bridgestone reveals financial plans at BizCon conference

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Bridgestone Firestone North America LLC recently held its BizCon commercial tire business conference in San Francisco, Calif.

At the meeting, the company’s 11th and largest thus far, Art Campagnoni, vice president of North American commercial sales for truck and bus tires, told tire dealers and truck stop owners in attendance, “You are the most powerful independent commercial tire dealer and truck-stop network on earth, and it is our intention to invest the global power of our resources, strategies, technologies and relationships to attract and connect the power of your independence in ways that create unrivaled value for the fleet, for you and for us.”

Minimizing the impact of the rising costs of crude oil and other raw materials is a goal for the company in 2007, reported Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH) and Bridgestone Firestone North America.

He reported that despite the challenges, Bridgestone Group continued to grow and was expanding its sales of higher value-added products and increasing production capacity in strategic product lines.

“The Group also focused on enhancing productivity and taking full advantage of its strengths in research and technology. As a result, the Bridgestone Group's 2006 net sales increased 11% over 2005 to $25.1 billion,” Emkes said.

“Operating income, however, reflected the worldwide high prices for natural rubber, crude oil and other raw materials and decreased 11% to $1.6 billion.”

About 44% of Bridgestone’s global sales are derived from the Americas, said Emkes. BSAH’s 2006 sales reached a new company record, almost $11 billion, exceeding 2005 sales by more than $850 million. BSAH’s oerating income declined vs. 2005 due to costs related to the closure of the company’s Oklahoma City, Okla., and Coquimbo, Chile, plants, along with the impact of high raw material, energy and transportation costs.

”We expect our operating income to increase over 2006 as our North American and Latin American tire businesses gain strength. However, we also anticipate tremendous profit pressures related to continuing high raw material and transportation costs.”

The company plans to spend more than $5.02 billion on expansion, new plants and vertical integration initiatives over three years, Emkes said.

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