Bridgestone, hit by rising raw material costs and the economic slowdown, has reported a 40% fall in net profit for its first nine months.

The Japanese tyre company said net profit for the period dropped Y49.5 billion (US$502m), whilst operating profit fell 26.8% to Y119.2 billion.

Sales revenues, however, were slightly ahead of last year, up 1.3% to Y2.5 trillion, driven by strong sales in Asia.

However, the company said: “A defining factor of the business environment in the first three quarters was the volatility in the cost of raw material and crude oil, with the primary trend being one of upwards movement. There were signs of an economic slowdown in Japan, evidenced by weakening personal consumption and sluggish growth in exports.”

The company left its full year forecast unchanged at net profit of Y66 billion. Operating profit is seen declining to Y155 billion on revenue of Y3.42 trillion.