ERJ staff report (DS)
Seoul, Korea -- Hankook Tire has put in an impressive performance for the 12 months to December 2007. The company reported sales up by 11.8 percent, to KRW 3.2 million million (Euro 2339 million) and a gross profit margin of 8.1 percent.
Consolidated operating profit increased 5.1 percent to KRW263 600 million (Euro 193 million). Growth factors included a 9 percent increase in European sales in the 4th quarter 2007 and a 10.5 percent year-on year increase in global ultra-high performance (UHP) tyre sales. These figures follow the opening in summer 2007 of the company's UHP tyre factory in Hungary. The company produced almost a million tyres in Hungary in its first 6 months and expects an additional 4 million tyres to be produced in 2008.
Chief executive officer, Seung Hwa Suh said, â€œOur focus on improving global management structures and processes in recent years has maintained our ability to balance increasing global sales with industry-leading profit margins. Despite a challenging year for the industry as a whole, our strategy of increasing the quality and reputation of our products has allowed us to build margins without adversely affecting our sales growth in both new and established markets for the Hankook brand.â€
Hankook Tire remains positive about 2008 growth prospects. The company is aggressively targeting global sales approaching approximately KRW3.9 trillion representing potential growth of 19.6%. Hankook said it remains in a strong position to invest further in overseas production facilities, with EBITDA increasing from KRW500 billion to KRW541 billion in 2007, alongside low debt and strong cash flow.