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BFNT expects to lose money in 2004

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"Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. still showed a profit in 2003," Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC CEO and President Mark Emkes recently said. "Unfortunately, there's a unit, BFNT, that continues to lose money.

"We anticipate another year of losses in BFNT" due to escalating raw material and health care costs, among other factors, says Emkes, who adds that BFNT has made key improvements.

"We're doing a better job of having our sales and manufacturing departments communicate with each other. We're doing a much better job of matching supply with demand."

BFNT also has improved its representation in Washington D.C., according to Emkes. "Four years ago, we didn't have many friends in Washington. We now have the opportunity for constructive dialogue with officials."

In addition, the company has successfully standardized many procedures, allowing it "to leverage more fully our research and development strengths around the world."

Emkes told dealers that they and BFNT need to make more money selling tires. "We have no choice if we are to survive. It's impossible to make money and positive cash flow by selling the same products at the same price we did 10 years ago."

BFNT's annual Bizcon event wrapped up yesterday.

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