Tiremaker Bridgestone forecasts record earnings in 2013

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Bridgestone Corp. predicts it will surpass an eight-year-old profit record in 2013, as the world’s largest tire maker hopes to benefit from a weaker yen to boost its earnings.

Bridgestone, the world’s biggest tire manufacturer by volume, said in a statement Monday that net income will probably increase to 235bn yen ($2.5bn) this year compared to the 171.6bn yen posted last year. In a survey by Bloomberg, the average forecast by 15 analysts shows a net income of 206bn yen.

Bridgestone executives noted that the yen’s depreciation will also push higher the cost of imported raw materials needed to manufacture its products.

Bridgestone chief financial officer Akihiro Eto said Monday in Tokyo during the company’s earnings briefing that rubber prices could range between $3.30 and $3.50 per kilogram in 2013. Last year, the material was around $3.38 using prices for ribbed smoked sheet, grade three.

Bridgestone also expects output to rise this year by 9.6 per cent to meet increasing demand in emerging markets.

The tiremaker generates around 80 percent of its revenue outside of Japan, with sales from the Americas accounting for about 45 per cent as of the quarter ended Sept. 30, according to Bloomberg data.

Bridgestone expects net profit to jump this year by 37 percent to a record 235bn yen ($2.5bn), beating its previous all-time high of 180.7bn yen posted in 2005.

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