ERJ staff report (LMH)
Helsinki -- Nokian Tyres group's first quarter net sales increased by 32.9 percent to Euro 384.3 million, while operating profit grew to Euro 105.0 million, an increase of 45.3 percent.
â€œWe got a flying start also for 2012 as both sales and production output improved clearly. Sales improved in all our markets with growth in Russia again outshining other areas,â€ said CEO Kim Gran.
Passenger car tyre sales were up 37.5 percent at Euro 316 million. Operating profit was Euro 119 million, up 41.2 percent from Q1 2011. Profit margin was 37.6 percent. The majority of the sales growth came from Russia where both the winter tyre and the summer tyre sales grew significantly, Nokian said, while SUV tyres showed the strongest growth among product groups.
Production output grew by 39 percent compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, boosted by the increasing capacity in Russia. The plants in Nokia and Vsevolozhsk were operating 7 days a week full capacity.
In heavy tyres, sales dropped 4.8 percent to Euro 27 million. Operating fell drastically to Euro 3.8 million, a drop of 30.2 percent. Profit margin was 14% compared to 19.1 percent in Q1 2011. Sales decreased due to weaker forestry tyre sales, Nokian said, noting that mining harbour and radial tyres showed growth especially in Russia and North America.
In total the Nokian Heavy Tyres' order book, including forestry tyres, improved by the end of Q1 2012 compared to Q4 2011, trailing the recovery in machine building. Production volume decreased by 10 percent year-over-year.
Gran noted that the expansion of its Vianor tyre service chain continued as it opened 22 new stores in the first quarter. â€œThe chain now totals 932 stores in 24 countries, which is one cornerstone and the spearhead to improve sales and market shares further,â€ Gran added.
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Press release from Nokian Tyres