Following hot on the heels of Brdigestone’s bumper profits, Sumitomo Rubber has posted record profits for 2002. The Kobe-based tyre maker said that its strong 2002 result was underpinned by strong exports to North America and Asia as well as a weak yen.

Operating profit rose 40.6 percent from 2001 to 31.74 billion yen, while revenues rose 3.1 percent to 447.89 billion yen.

“In order to achieve a ‘V’ shaped recovery after our fall into the red in 2001/02, we instilled emergency profit boosting measures and radical reform measures, and have achieved big cuts in areas like personnel costs,” Sumitomo said in a statement.

The company also said that it had benefited from some restructuring in Europe.

Looking ahead, Sumitomo said it held out little hope for a bounce-back in the domestic economy, but still expected cost cuts and other measures to help it post a solid rise in net profit to 11 billion yen in 2003.