Seoul, South Korea – Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. suffered an 11.3% drop in operating income for fiscal 2018 on slightly lower sales.
Hankook cited a slowdown in demand from global auto markets such as China as one reason for the earnings decline, to €541 million.
Sales were down just 0.2%, to €5.2 billion, lowering the operating margin three points to 8.8%.
Europe remained Hankook's single largest market at €1.85 billion, up 5.1% over 2017 on stronger business in eastern Europe.
Business in North America essentially was unchanged from 2017, with revenue down 0.6% to €1.5 billion, Hankook said.
Sales in South Korea and China fell 7.1% and 7.4%, respectively.
Hankook noted that sales of higher rim diameter tires — 18 inches and larger — rose 3.9% last year and now account for 52.3% of the firm's passenger tire business.
Hankook is forecasting growth of 6.6% and 7.4%, respectively, for operating profits and sales in fiscal 2019, as it expands production of higher rim-diameter tires and diversifies OE supply portfolio.