SEOUL, South Korea — Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.'s first quarter operating earnings fell 24.2 percent on 2.1-percent higher sales.
Hankook did not elaborate on the reasons for the earnings decline, to $124.5 million. Revenue rose to $1.46 billion despite a global auto industry slowdown, dropping the operating ratio three points to 8.5 percent.
Unit sales of larger-diameter passenger/SUV tires — 18-inch and larger — increased 3.3 percent, Hankook said, and now represent nearly 54 percent of overall sales.
Hankook, the No. 7 tire maker worldwide, said increasing sales of larger-diameter tires is part of its strategy to solidify its position as a premium brand and for strengthening its competitiveness in premium product categories.
The company also said it plans to diversify its original equipment portfolio to establish a stable growth structure and optimize distribution strategies for each region. Hankook did not disclose a regional sales breakdown for the quarter, which ended March 31.