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Bridgestone Corp. releases third quarter financials

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Bridgestone Corp. announced consolidated business and financial results for the first three quarters of 2005.

Net sales in the first three quarters increased 9% over the same period of the previous year to 1,920.8 billion yen [$17 billion], while operating income increased 11% to 153.4 billion yen [$1,355 million] and ordinary income increased 12% to 144.7 billion yen [$1,278 million]. Net income grew 98% to 159.3 billion yen [$1,407 million].

This increase was due mainly to an extraordinary gain of 81.7 billion yen [$722 million] arising mostly from the return of the substitutional portion of an employee pension plan covering Bridgestone Corp. and some consolidated Japanese subsidiaries to the Japanese government, the company noted.

A total of $240 million (25.9 billion yen) was recorded as extraordinary loss in the third quarter as subsidiary Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC agreed to pay the Ford Motor

Co. the amount to settle all outstanding financial issues associated with the August 2000 voluntary Firestone tire safety recall and Ford’s May 2001 tire replacement program.

Performance in the Americas is on a recovery track, the company says. Going forward, stable profits are projected.

A defining trend of the business environment in the first three quarters (Jan. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2005) was continued global upward movement in the cost of crude oil and other raw materials, the company reports. In Japan, the domestic economy continued to recover on the whole, with improving corporate earnings and increases in personal consumption and capital spending.

In the United States, despite concerns about the devastating impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, expanding private-sector demand drove steady economic growth as personal consumption and capital spending continued to rise.

Economic recovery proceeded gradually in Europe. Strong economic growth continued in China, while other Asian economies also expanded steadily.

In the tire segment, operating income in the first three quarters increased 8% from the same period in the previous year to 117.8 billion yen [$1,041 million], on an increase of 9% in sales, to 1,528.8 billion yen [$13.5 billion]. The earnings contribution

from this sales growth offset the rising cost of raw materials and other factors.

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