Dec. 1, 2008 – Finance Digest

Kawasaki’s first-half sales drop by nearly 7 percent, company reports
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), the parent company of Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A, reported decreased sales and net income for its first half.
KHI had $6.3 billion in sales, a near 7 percent drop from the previous-year period for its first half, which ended Sept. 30. Net income fell nearly 38 percent to $125 million.
KHI’s consumer products and machinery division, which includes powersports, had $1.8 billion in sales, a near 16 percent drop to the year-ago period.
KHI’s North American sales, for all of its divisions, totaled $1.2 billion, a nearly 9 percent drop from a year ago.

Piaggio Group: Worldwide sales down almost 6 percent
Piaggio Group reported a continued decrease in worldwide sales for its fiscal year.
The decrease of nearly 6 percent is due in part to the rise in value of the Euro against other currencies, the company reported.
Piaggio’s worldwide sales totalled $1.6 billion for its first nine months, which ended Sept. 30. The exchange rate effect amounted to a loss of $43.9 million, the company said.
Overall sales have picked up slightly compared to the first half, when Piaggio announced a 7 percent decrease.
While its overall sales are down, Piaggio recently noted its retail sales in the United States grew by more than 80 percent from January-August compared to the prior-year period.

Cooper, Bridgestone report quarterly losses
Two major tire manufacturers reported losses due to soaring raw materials costs and depressed sales.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted a third-quarter loss of $55.4 million, or 94 cents per share, compared with earnings of $30.2 million, or 48 cents per share, in the third quarter a year earlier.
Sales rose 3 percent to $793.8 million from $767.7 million, helped by higher prices and increased market share in Canada and Mexico, according to a company press release.
The company says record high raw material costs hurt results by $104 million.
The company says it has lowered capital expenditures as raw material costs and competition increase while demand softens.
“Our business has come under intense pressure from several fronts, including increased raw material costs, decreased global demand and more intense competition,” Cooper CEO Roy Armes said in the release.
In related news, Bridgestone Corp. reported the company’s net income fell 40 percent in the first nine months of 2008, to $477 million.
The company had decreased operating profit of 42 percent for the first three quarters of 2008, though sales went up slightly at 1 percent.

Goodyear’s third-quarter earnings drop sharply
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. reported a net income of $31 million in its third quarter compared to $668 million during the same period last year, according to Dow Jones.
While the company’s tire sales fell 6.7 percent vs. last year, its revenue per tire increased 8 percent. That’s a 2.1 percent increase in revenue to $5.17 billion in the third quarter.
The company’s North American net sales fell 4.4 percent to $2.19 billion, despite an 11 percent increase in revenue per tire. The company recorded an operating loss of $19 million in the third quarter compared to $66 million in profit last year.
Chief Financial Officer Darren Wells says the company expects its capital expenditures to be about $1 billion for 2008, compared with earlier expectations at $1.3 billion.
Chief Executive Robert Keegan stated, “The tire industry is facing challenging business conditions as the global financial crisis and slowing economic conditions are impacting consumer demand in all regions. Our results reflect the economic reality of weakened industry demand and the associated cost impact of production cuts we initiated during the quarter.”

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