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Bridgestone: 'Securing raw materials is major priority'

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A new carbon black plant in Mexico will aid in Bridgestone Corp.'s efforts to secure its raw material supply.

The $81 million factory "will strengthen the Bridgestone Group's ability to provide stable supplies of raw materials," say Bridgestone officials.

"Expanding in-house production capacity in raw materials for tires and diversified products is a strategic priority. For example, Bridgestone companies are producing synthetic rubber in the United States and as announced late last year, a new synthetic rubber plant is currently under construction in China."

In late April at Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC's Bizcon truck tire dealer meeting, Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. Chairman and CEO Mark Emkes told attendees that "investing in our raw material future is as important as investing in technologies that depend on them.”

Emkes reported that Bridgestone anticipates a $360 million increase in raw material and utility costs this year.

The carbon black plant will be operated by Mexico Carbon Manufacturing SA DE CV, a wholly-owned member of Bridgestone that was established last year.

Production is slated to start in 2008 with annual capacity to be around 35,000 tons.

Bridgestone has another carbon black plant in Japan and also one in Thailand.

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