Tokyo – Bridgestone Corp. has reported a 1% drop in operating income, to Yen199.4 billion (€1,572 million), on first half sales of Yen1,774.4 billion, 2% higher than a year ago, the group’s 9 Aug report shows.
The lower income, however, reflected a 40% decline, to Yen8.9 billion, on flat sales at Bridgestone’s smaller Diversified Products division. This offset a 3% increase in earnings in the Tires division, at Yen190.6 billion, on 2% higher sales of Yen1,775.4 billion.
Stand-out figures in Bridgestone’s half-year report included: an 11% rise in operating income in Japan (to Yen 72.1 billion) on 3% higher sales (to Yen549.4 billion); and growth in sales and operating income in EMEA of 9% (to Yen295.1 billion) and 6% (to Yen5.6 billion) respectively.
Sales and earnings were flat in The Americas region, while earnings in China, Asia Pacific fell 7% despite a 3% increase in sales revenues.
In general, OE sales of PCR and TBR tires performed well in all regions in the first-half but were largely offset by declines in replacement markets. The most marked example was in the North American TBR segment, where OE sales came in 36% above the prior-year level, against an 11% decline in replacement sales.
In its full-year projections, Bridgestone forecast “continued steady growth” in global tire demand. This included a 5% rise in PCR tire demand and 6-10% higher demand for TBR tires, overall.
In terms of costs, the Japanese tire & rubber products group expects higher year-on-year crude oil prices for 2018, but lower natural rubber (NR) costs.
Bridgestone’s first-half figures peg crude oil at $65/bbl, compared to $50/bbl in the prior-year first-half, and NR (TSR20) at $1.43/kg, down from $1.81/kg a year ago.