Goodyear posts positive net income, record first quarter sales

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s net income for the first quarter of 2005 was $68 million compared to a net loss of $78 million suffered during the same period last year. Goodyear's sales totaled $4.8 billion, a first quarter record and an 11% increase from 1Q 2004 results.

Goodyear officials attribute net income growth to improved operating income in all of its tire segments, which countered escalating raw material costs.

The Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker credits sales gains to higher pricing, a better product mix and favorable currency translations.

Goodyear's North American Tire unit posted $2.1 billion in sales during 1Q 2005 versus $1.9 billion during 1Q 2004.

"North American Tire achieved its fourth consecutive quarter of positive operating income through improved pricing and product mix, higher volume and cost reduction activities," say Goodyear officials.

The company's tire unit volume during the first quarter totaled nearly 56 million units, a 200,000 increase from same period levels in 2004.

"The change was driven by a 7.9% increase in the key North American replacement markets, offset by lower consumer original equipment volumes of 8.7% in North America and the European Union."

However, looking ahead, while Goodyear officials expect the company's operating performance for the rest of the year will exceed its performance during comparable periods in 2004, "the rate of gain is expected to be less than in the first quarter."

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