OSAKA, Japan—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. posted record sales and earnings for fiscal 2014, with the operating margin exceeding 12 percent on the positive effects of robust replacement tire sales, stable raw materials prices and favorable exchange rate changes.
Operating income jumped 27.6 percent to $449.1 million on 6.4 percent higher sales of $3.72 billion. Net income more than doubled to $295.3 million.
Toyo management is forecasting continued growth in 2015—operating income up 3 percent and sales up 8 percent. Net income likely will slide, Toyo said, by about 10 percent.
Toyo's tire business led the way for Toyo last year, reporting 34.1 percent operating income of $428.3 million on 7.8-percent higher sales of $2.95 billion, for an operating ratio of 14.5 percent.
Toyo attributed the sales gains primarily to its overseas business units, with growth reported in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Toyo highlighted healthy sales of high value-added SUV tires in North America.
Toyo's business in North America grew 14.9 percent last year to $1.51 billion, which puts the unit's sales nearly on par with Toyo's domestic business in Japan, where sales declined 1.2 percent, the firm reported.
On a unit sales basis, Toyo said it sold more than 10 million replacement tires in North America in 2014 and projects sales to rise about 11.5 percent in 2015.
Operating earnings in North America rose 13.8 percent to $85 million, maintaining a 5.6 percent operating ratio.
Toyo expects its business in North America to grow more than 18 percent in 2015, a rate that would make the continent clearly Toyo's largest business unit, representing nearly 45 percent of global sales.
Toyo said that it's proceeding with a $371 million capacity expansion at its Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. unit in White, Ga., in large part to satisfy demand for its light truck and SUV tires. The firm broke ground on the expansion in December 2013.
The project is expected to be complete by 2017. The 700,000-sq.-ft. addition to the plant's manufacturing space will boost annual capacity by nearly 40 percent to about 8 million tires, Toyo said, as well as create 650 jobs.
Toyo said its capital spending in 2014 jumped 39 percent over 2013 to $369 million, and the tire maker is projecting that to grow another 11.5 percent this year.