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Hankook posts highest quarter

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Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., parent company for Hankook Tire America Corp., posted the highest quarter results in global sales for the first quarter of 2011 with South Korean won (KRW) 1.4 trillion, a 16.3% year-over-year increase. Hankook Tire’s Q1 operating profit for 2011 recorded KRW 179 billion, with an operating profit to sales ratio of 12.4%.

The company says the increased global performance in the first quarter was led by balanced sales growth in all markets including Europe, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific regions. Due to its strengthening brand value grounded in high-quality tires, Hankook Tire saw significant growth in the developed markets. Sales in Europe, the company’s biggest regional market, jumped 20.9% on the back of improved productivity as well as capacity increase in Hankook’s European high-end-plant in Hungary; sales in North America also climbed 29.1% from Q1 last year.

Hankook’s sales figures in Latin America, the Mideast and Asia Pacific regions showed steady growth. Particularly, sales went up 38.4% and 21.8% from last year’s first quarter in Latin America and the Asia Pacific regions, respectively.

Korea, China and Hungary operations achieved 18%, 19%, and 59% increases from Q1 2010. In China, where Hankook is already the number one tire brand, the company saw a 33.9% year-over-year growth in the replacement tire market. The company says the Hankook brand is attracting more Chinese consumers as the country becomes more sensitive to cars and car parts.

Hankook says sales in Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires continued to see robust growth with 42.5% increase, led by the increasing recognition for the premium quality Hankook represents. In Q1 2011, Hankook Tire’s UHP (Ultra High Performance) tire sales in the OE business marked a good record. The company’s Korea operation more than doubled the sales of UHP tire supply to domestic automakers, and sold 58.4% more UHP tires to overseas automobile brands than last year.

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