Bridgestone Corporation has reported a 98% year on year boost in net income to JPY159.3bn [US$1,407m] for the first three quarters of 2005, due mainly to an extraordinary gain of JPY81.7bn.

This came mostly from the return of the substitutional portion of an employee pension plan covering Bridgestone Corporation and some consolidated Japanese subsidiaries to the Japanese government.

Operating income increased 11%, to JPY153.4bn and ordinary income increased 12%, to JPY144.7.

Net sales increased 9% year on year to JPY1,920.8bn.

However, $240m (JPY25.9bn) was recorded as an extraordinary loss in the third quarter as Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire (Firestone), the subsidiary which manufactures and sells tyres in North America, agreed to pay Ford the amount to settle all outstanding financial issues associated with Firestone’s August 2000 voluntary safety recall and Ford’s May 2001 tyre replacement programme.

In a statement, Bridgestone said defining trend of the business environment in the first three quarters was continued global upward movement in the cost of crude oil and other raw materials.

It added that performance in the Americas is recovering and projects stable profits.