Tokyo – Bridgestone Corp. managed to nudge up sales in the first quarter despite issues around exchange rates and crude oil prices, the tire and rubber products maker reported 10 May.
Over the three months to 30 March, net sales at the Japanese group increased by around 1% to Yen860 billion (€6.7 billion), according to a company statement.
First quarter tire revenues were up 1% at Yen715 billion, while income sales at Bridgestone diversified products division came in about 2% higher at Yen150 billion.
PCR tire sales, said Bridgestone, were weaker compared to 2017, mainly due to early buying in the first quarter of 2017 in North America and Europe. TBR income remained stable, though “robust growth” was witnessed in ultra-large/large off-road tires.
The Japanese tire maker said despite weaker demand year-on-year in North America and Europe, global tire demand continued to grow steadily.
Consolidated operating income fell 3% at Yen99.8 billion, with a 1% rise in tires division at Yen96.3 billion.
The diversified products business, which includes conveyor belts and other rubber products, saw a 52% fall in operating income at Yen3.7 billion. Bridgestone’s statement did not offer an explanation for the decline.
With regard to materials prices, Bridgestone noted a significant decline in the price of natural rubber compared to the first quarter of 2017 and a rise in crude oil prices.
TSR20 prices fell from $208/kg in the first quarter of 2017 to $146/kg this year, while RSS3 prices fell to $171/kg from $253/kg in 2017.
Crude oil prices, on the other hand, rose to $62 per barrel in the first quarter of the year, compared to $51 per barrel last year.
Also having a negative impact on results was currency effects, with the Japanese yen weaker against the dollar and euro compared to the same period last year.