Bridgestone Profits Down 40%

However sales were strong in Asia

Bridgestone said that due to soaring raw material costs it suffered a nearly 40% drop in net profit in the nine months to September.

Net profit for the period fell 39.9% to 49.5 billion yen (US$502 million) from a year earlier, said Bridgestone, which is vying with Michelin to be the world's undisputed top tire-maker. Operating profit declined 26.8% to 119.2 billion yen.

Revenue edged up 1.3% to 2.5 trillion yen on brisk sales in Asia but profits were affected by rising raw materials prices, the company said.

The results do not take into account possible penalty charges by the European Commission or the U.S. justice department over a probe into a suspected cartel in rubber marine hoses. Bridgestone said it was difficult to assess what amount of reserves the company should put aside for possible penalties.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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