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Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) is projecting 6-per cent growth in sales this year, led by its tyre and industrial products businesses, to go with 4-per cent earnings growth. Sumitomo’s projections come on top of double-digit gains in operating and net income in fiscal 2013.

SRI is forecasting fiscal 2014 operating income of about $78 million on sales of $8.2 billion. The Kobe-based tyre and rubber goods maker expects to benefit from stable or falling raw materials prices and the effects of increased volume and a better product mix, while falling pricing is expected to be a drag on earnings.

Tyre business unit sales revenues should grow about 6 per cent, SRI said, based on strong overseas sales offsetting flat to slightly lower domestic demand. The company projects its tyre plants will be operating at 95 per cent of capacity this year, up from 90 per cent last year. Global capacity is expected to rise 4 per cent this year to 54,400 metric tons per month.

Despite the lower unit sales, SRI’s sales revenue in North America rose 9.7 per cent to $913 million. Globally, SRI reported 10.5-per cent higher operating earnings for 2013 of $788.7 million while net income jumped 26.4 per cent to $458.5 million. Sales revenue increased 9.9 per cent to $7.99 billion.

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