Goodyear has narrowed its first quarter loss to USD47m on higher demand and says that but for a one-time charge it would have notched up a profit of USD52m.

Goodyear lost 19 cents a share compared with a loss of USD1.38 a share, or USD333 million for the same time period last year.

The latest results also included a one-time charge of 41 cents a share derived from the Venezuelan government’s move in January to devalue its currency.

“We are very pleased with our strong first quarter performance,” said Richard J. Kramer, president and chief executive officer. 

“As markets around the world continue to improve, we are starting to see the benefits of the strategic actions we took last year, including our commitment to launch innovative new products during an economic downturn.  The strategic actions contributed to strong growth in both sales and earnings, positioning us well as the global economy continues its recovery.”

Kramer said his strategic priorities as CEO will include continuing to drive the company’s innovation engine with new products; increasing operating efficiencies throughout the supply chain; improving earnings, especially in North American Tire; expanding growth in emerging markets; enhancing Goodyear’s capital structure; and continuing to build its leadership team.

“I am confident that our focus on these priorities will enable Goodyear to gain from the recovery in industry volumes and help us overcome the challenges before us, specifically higher raw material costs,” he said.

Goodyear’s first quarter 2010 sales were USD4.3bn, up 21 percent from the 2009 quarter. First quarter sales reflect the $399 million impact of a 14 percent increase in tyre unit volume due to improved global demand and growth in emerging markets.