NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2005) – Bridgestone Corporation, parent company of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (BSAH), today announced that its consolidated, or worldwide, net income for fiscal year 2004 increased 29 percent, to $1.1 billion (USD), on sales of $23.2 billion, a 5 percent increase over the prior year. Operating income rose 8 percent to $1.9 billion.
In the Americas, BSAH 2004 net sales and net income (profit) were $9.15 billion and $183 million, respectively. The results achieved in 2004 represent a 12 percent increase in total sales revenue over 2003. The 2004 growth is attributable to several factors, including passenger and light truck tire unit sales increases in the replacement market, a strong performance in unit sales of truck and bus tires, and very strong growth in sales in the company’s diversified products and Latin American businesses.
“Our sales growth and overall performance this past year showed the strength of our Americas operations,” said John Vispo, BSAH controller. “While our North American tire business did not post a profit in 2004, our other business segments continued their impressive performances, contributing significantly to Bridgestone Americas’ overall profitability. This year marks Bridgestone Americas’ third consecutive profitable year, a clear sign that our company is well on the road to financial stability.”
The results reflect the impressive performance of two BSAH subsidiaries, BFS Retail & Commercial Operations, LLC and BFS Diversified Products, LLC, and the companies that comprise the Bridgestone Firestone Latin America operating segment, all of which reported improved operating profit over 2003. However, the company’s core business, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT), continues to face challenges on its road to profitability.
“Our businesses faced a number of demanding tasks this year – including the need to overcome continuing increases in raw material, pension and health care costs. The fact that BSAH is profitable, even in the face of these challenges and an increasingly competitive market, is clearly attributed to the efforts of our 50,000 teammates and the loyal stores and dealers across the Americas who sell our products,” said Vispo, who is also chief financial officer and vice president of BFNT.
Additional factors that were cited as contributing to the 2004 full-year results include strong sales of truck and bus tires, impressive sales and profits in the building products segment of the diversified products business, and increasing sales of the company’s flagship Bridgestone and Firestone brand passenger and light truck tires, resulting in an improved sales mix.
Improving the capabilities and flexibility of its tire plants, increasing operating efficiencies and targeting sales volume growth will continue to be the company’s focus in 2005, as the company’s core business, BFNT, remained unprofitable in 2004. Regarding its sales outlook for the Americas, BSAH is projecting growth in unit sales in passenger car, light truck, truck and bus tires amid strong demand, as well as sales growth in its retail and diversified products businesses and in its Latin American tire operations. Total forecasted sales in 2005 are expected to reach $9.5 billion, a 4 percent increase over 2004. The company is also forecasting that all of its business units will achieve a profit before tax in 2005, including the North American tire business.
“It appears that raw material costs will continue to be volatile in 2005. Combining this factor with ever-increasing pension and health care costs and rising interest rates, it is clear that the road ahead will be a difficult one,” Vispo said. “We plan to address these challenges through improved productivity, cost containment efforts and recently implemented price increases.”
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in wide variety of applications, it manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.
Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (BSAH) is the U.S. subsidiary of the Bridgestone Corporation. BSAH and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate and private brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies also produce air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber and industrial fibers and textiles and operate the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers.
1) Dollar equivalents for the 2004 results were computed at a rate of