Goodyear comments on Venezuelan devaluation

On January 8, the Venezuelan government announced the devaluation of its currency (the bolivar fuerte) and the establishment of a two-tier exchange structure.

Goodyear expects to record a 1Q charge of $150 million associated with Venezuelan currency devaluation.

The official exchange rate has been devalued from 2.15 bolivar fuerte to each United States dollar to 4.30, except in the case of essential goods, for which the rate is 2.60. Some of the tires and raw materials The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company imports into Venezuela have been classified as essential, while others have not. The company is evaluating the list of goods classified by the Venezuelan government as essential to determine the exchange rates applicable to its imports.

Separately, Venezuela has been designated hyper-inflationary effective January 1, 2010, and as such, all future foreign currency fluctuations will be recorded in income.

Goodyear expects to record a charge associated with the devaluation, which if calculated at the 4.30 exchange rate would be approximately $150 million ($.62 per share) in the first quarter of 2010.

This charge relates to the remeasurement of its balance sheet, net of tax. To the extent that Goodyear imports are classified as essential, this impact could be reduced. On December 31, 2009, without giving effect to the devaluation, Goodyear had approximately $370 million in cash denominated in bolivar fuerte in Venezuela. The devaluation will not have any impact on Goodyear’s 2009 results of operations or financial position.

The future results of Goodyear’s Venezuelan operations will be affected by many factors, including the company’s ability to take actions to mitigate the effect of the devaluation, further actions of the Venezuelan government, economic conditions in Venezuela such as inflation and consumer spending, and the availability of raw materials, utilities and energy.

“We have a strong business in Venezuela with an outstanding and experienced leadership team that is focused on managing through the changes taking place in the Venezuelan market,” said Robert J. Keegan, Goodyear’s chairman and chief executive officer.