SEOUL, South Korea (Jan. 29) — Hankook Tire Co. Inc. is forecasting 23-percent growth in global sales for 2007, to $3.6 billion, as its Chinese subsidiaries ramp up operations and its new Hungarian tire plant comes on stream later this year.
Sales of $3.6 billion could propel the Seoul-based tire maker past Japan´s Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. as the world´s seventh largest tire maker, based on Yokohama´s 2006 sales and forecasts.
The double-digit jump in sales would come largely from the growth of its operations in China — which could exceed $1 billion in sales alone — and initial contributions from the firm´s new factory in Hungary, where production could be on stream by mid-year.
Hankook also forecast a net income of $209 million (5.8 percent of sales) but did not provide comparable 2006 data for its global operations.
Executive Vice President Hyun Shick Cho said while the price of raw materials and natural rubber are uncertain, the company we will offset costs by penetrating overseas markets with active marketing, expanding sales of OE tires to premium auto makers and with innovative management.