By Alex Kapadia
Hankook tyres have announced that their sales grew 13.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 – returning the company to the black and bringing optimism.
The Korean tyres manufacturer attributed its sales growth to strong international demand, including export growth of 8.9 and 19.9 per cent to Europe and North America, respectively.
An added bonus was that Hankook’s manufacturing operation in Hungary reported 87 per cent higher sales and a year ago.
However, while Hankook’s reversal of fortune will inject a sense of optimism into the company, its first quarter operating income of $24.9 million is still down 52.2 per cent from the same period in 2008.
Seung Hwa Suh, CEO of Hankook Tyres, attributed the company’s return to the black on an operating basis on “effective cost and expenditure management and smart marketing activities”.
He said the company, which had strayed into negative territory in the previous financial quarter, remains positive about further growth prospects for 2009.
Mr Suh said: “The tyre industry is extremely competitive, and it is essential that we continue to effectively manage costs while balancing investments to ensure sustained future growth.
“Amidst the economic situation, I continue to look forward to what lies ahead this year.”
The company is targeting global sales of around £3 billion for 2009.