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Hankook increases 1Q sales by 17.1%

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Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. recorded consolidated sales of 1.71 trillion won for its first quarter ended March 31, 2012. That compares to sales of more than 1.4 trillion won for the same period last year.

Based on the exchange rate on March 31, 2012, Hankook posted 1Q sales of $1.5 billion.

Despite a signifiant increase in raw material costs, operating income totaled 235.3 billion won, a 21.5% increase over the first quarter of 2011. The company did not release net income.

Hankook's 17.1% year-over-year increase in global sales was driven by accelerated sales growth in major markets, including North America, Europe and other emerging economies.

The company achieved record sales in North America and Europe (the growth in ultra-high performance tires is in parentheses):

* up 31% in North America (UHP = 33.9%);

* up 37% in Europe (UHP = 45.2%).

North America accounts for 19.8% of Hankook’s total global sales.

“Hankook’s commitment to increasing brand awareness as a premium tire manufacturer is clearly paying off,” says Soo Il Lee, president of Hankook Tire America Corp. “Our impressive sales growth, especially in the United States, is further evidence that our combination of exceptional product quality, enhanced marketing efforts and growing original equipment fitments are being noticed by consumers.”

Additionally, sales in emerging markets such as South America and Southeast Asia increased 32.8%.

"Despite continued global economic downturn, we have been able to set global sales growth and operating profit based on consistent tire quality improvement as well as brand equity enhancement,” says Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire Co.

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