Hankook CEO ‘Looking Forward’ to What Lies Ahead
Hankook Tire reports that effective cost management and initial signs of a reviving market have helped it recover from negative territory in the previous financial quarter to post sales of KRW 1.1346 trillion (£599.7 million) in the first quarter of 2009. This result, 13.8 per cent up on a year earlier, is supplemented by operating profits of KRT 35.3 billion (£18.6 million), despite the market remaining, in Hankook’s words, a “challenging” one.
During the first quarter exports from Korea rose 7.3 per cent year-on-year, with export demand showing a 19.9 per cent increase to North America and 8.9 per cent to Europe from a year earlier. The company also states that its Hungarian plant, the main production facility for the European market, has seen a “significant” 24.7 per cent growth in sales from the final quarter of 2008 and an 87.0 per cent increase from a year earlier.
“With effective cost and expenditure management and smart marketing activities, Hankook Tire continues to strive for growth in 2009 despite the economic climate,” said Hankook Tire global CEO Seung Hwa Suh. “The company is at a strong position to continue building on its already strong reputation this year, and we will continue to highlight our commitment to technology and excellence to sustain success in emerging markets, as well as continue to challenge other more established markets. We are particularly proud of the growth the Hungary plant has made since the start of production in 2007, and also see that it is adapting itself to the European market smoothly.”
Mr. Suh continued, “The tyre industry is extremely competitive and it is essential that we continue to effectively manage costs, while balancing investments to ensure sustained future growth. Amidst the economic situation, I continue to look forward to what lies ahead this year, particularly with the balance sheets in black this quarter.”
According to Hankook Tire, the company “remains positive” about further growth prospects for 2009, and says it is “aggressively targeting” global sales in 2009 approaching approximately KRW 4.33 trillion (£2.3 billion). This target, Hankook adds, reflects the its continuous efforts to maintain investment in technology, brand reputation, and on-going support of consumer needs amidst the ever changing economic forecasts for 2009.