NOKIA, Finland—Nokian Tyres P.L.C. continued its strong performance in the third quarter of 2017, posting a year-on-year 21.3 percent rise in operating profit for the quarter at $104.3 million.
Net sales also rose 14.5 percent to $421.7 million, driven largely by significant increases in passenger car tire sales in Russia and other other regions.
Passenger car tire sales represented 70 percent of Nokian's net sales during the first nine months of the year, up from 67 percent the previous year. Heavy tires represented 11 percent of sales while the retail business of Vianor contributed to 19 percent of sales.
Speaking during the Nokian results conference call on Nov. 1, CEO and president Hille Korhonen explained that while the market in Russia grew significantly, central Europe remained the firm's biggest market.
In terms of profitability, Korhonen said increasing volumes and operational efficiency, as well as price increases announced earlier in the year, contributed to better results.
Commenting on growth in Russia, the Nokian boss said consumer confidence was "slightly picking up."
Net sales in Russia rose 86 percent, and 50 percent of that volume-related Nokian said. The rest was supported by currencies and price increases.
"Our market share has been increasing in Russia. The growth in Russia has been more positive then we have anticipated beginning of the year," Korhonen added. "However, after the 15 percent drop in 2015, it's still on a very low level, and I would say that the consumers don't have any more cash to spend what they used to have."
In the heavy tires segment, sales to mining industries increased in Russia, while the agricultural tire sales remained on a "healthy level," Korhonen said.