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Bridgestone posts 1Q net income of $231 million

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Bridgestone Corp. posted net income of $231 million on net sales of $6 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2006. That compares to income of $243 million on sales of $5.6 billion) for the same period in 2005.

Operating income increased from $318 million to $404 million, a 27% increase.

In the tire segment, Bridgestone's operating income in the first quarter increased 4% over the previous first quarter to 35.4 billion yen ($301 million). Tire sales totaled 560.8 billion yen ($4.8 billion), a 17% increase. "The earnings contribution from this sales growth offset in part the adverse effect on earnings of rising raw material costs," says the company.

The Bridgetone Americas subsidiary posted operating income of 12.9 billion yen ($110 million) on sales of 314.2 billion yen ($2.7 billion) for the first quarter.

In North America, unit sales of passenger and light truck tires declined in both the original equipment and replacement segments "due to decrease in demand." Unit sales of truck and bus tires increased, led by growth in original equipment tire shipments.

Bridgestone projects consolidated first-half net income of 30 billion yen on net sales of 1.43 trillion yen. In 2005, income and sales equaled 101.7 billion yen and 1.25 trillion yen, respectively. (Fiscal first-half 2005 results included an extraordinary gain of 80.8 billion yen arising mostly from the return to the Japanese government of the substantial portion of an employee pension at the company and some of its subsidiaries.)

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