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Japan’s Bridgestone sees profits tumble, tire sales pick up

Bridgestone Corp. said on 19 February its net profit tumbled 90 percent in 2009 from a year earlier due to a global slump in tire demand and the effects of a strong yen, but that it expects to recover this year with a pick-up in sales and benefits from cost cutting.

The Japanese company, which competes with France’s Michelin for the top spot in global tire sales, posted a net profit of JPY1.04 billion (USD11.3 million) for last year compared with a JPY10.41 billion (USD116.5) profit in 2008.

The figure is a reflection of how bad tire demand, in tandem with dwindling automobile sales, has eroded the company’s profitability. Furthermore, the strong yen pulled down operating profit by JPY44 billion (USD492.5 million), while a special loss of JPY10.6 billion (USD118.6 million) incurred from shutting down production facilities in Australia and New Zealand also squeezed its bottom line.

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(Source: The Wall Street Journal Online)