QINGDAO, China — Qingdao Doublestar Group is forecasting a fiscal 2019 unaudited net loss of $33 million to $40 million, a downturn in fortunes it's attributing to increased expenses for a number of initiatives.
The net loss compares with $4.4 million net profit in 2018.
Doublestar — which owns controlling interest in South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. — cited facility upgrades, increased research and development expenses and exploration of new business strategies for the forecast.
As of year-end 2019, the firm had closed down all of its old tire plants and phased out 90% of its outdated facilities and relocated or built facilities meeting the "Industry 4.0" standards for both truck and bus tires and passenger car tires.
Most recently Doublestar started trial production at its Shiyan, Hubei, China, factory, a $220 million relocation project.
The company, the No. 31 tire maker worldwide with 2018 sales of $962 million, said it expects its profitability to pick up within a short period of time as the new facilities come on stream.