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Bridgestone projects fiscal gains during 2006

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Bridgestone Corp. expects its overall sales in 2006 to reach $26.36 billion, $3.5 billion more than its 2005 sales. Bridgestone also plans to achieve $1.79 billion in operating income and $900 million in net income this year.

Its Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH) division also is forecasting continued growth in sales to $11 billion. Its sales topped the $10 billion mark last year. BSAH's 2006 net income is projected to be around $150 million.

"Our businesses will face a number of demanding challenges in 2006, including the need to overcome increases in raw material, pension and health care costs, and rising interest rates," says John Vispo, BSAH vice president, finance.

Last week, Bridgestone Corp. announced it had achieved worldwide, full-year net income of $1.53 billion (58% more than 2004) on sales of $22.8 billion, an 11% increase over 2004 levels.

In addition, BSAH's net sales grew more than $1 billion during 2005, while its net income jumped $244 million over 2004 net income to $428 million.

Also, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC posted a profit in 2005, the first time it has done so since it was formed in late 2001.

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