Bridgestone has raised its 2009 operating profit forecast despite seeing its first half performance slip into a loss.

The Japanese tyre company said it was increasing its operating profit forecast to JPY61bn from JPY56bn. It also increased its net profit forecast from break even to JPY6bn.

Net sales were however forecast to fall JPY10bn to JPY2,610bn.

The company said the revised forecasts were due to significant expense reduction initiatives.

For its first six months, the company saw an operating loss of JPY20bn ($209.8m) compared to a JPY83.7bn profit a year earlier.

The company said it made a net loss of JPY38.3bn versus net income of JPY37.2bn a year earlier. Net sales reached JPY1,205 bn, down 27% from JPY1,641bn.