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Bridgestone/Firestone's strategy in 2006? More of the same

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"Our game plan for 2006 is a consistent, responsible extension of our plan for 2005," Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH), told truck tire dealers at this past weekend's BizCon meeting.

"It was that plan that allowed us to turn the corner of profitability at Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and continue our string of profitability and growth at Bridgestone Americas.

"This was accomplished in the face of overwhelming increases in raw material, utility, health care and transportation costs.

"A successful game plan needs to be consistent," said Emkes. "It needs to be built on a strong base of fundamentals and those fundamentals simply don't change very often."

In 2005, BFNT turned its first profit since the company was established in late 2001.

During the year, parent company Bridgestone Corp. also achieved consolidated net income of $1.53 billion on sales of $22.8 billion, while BSAH posted net sales of more than $10 billion, a first for the division.

The $10 billion-plus figure was an 11% increase over BSAH's 2004 results. BSAH's full-year net profit totaled $428 million versus $244 million during 2004.

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