NOKIA, Finland — Reacting to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nokian Tyres P. L.C. has moved production of some of its key lines out of its plant in Russia to plants in Finland and the U.S., while securing "transport capacity from Russia with existing and new service providers."
The Finnish tire maker said in a statement that its plant, located in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg, is operating "normally," at full capacity, and that the shift in production had begun in September, months before the invasion, as part of its growth strategy.
"We have activated our contingency plans to mitigate the financial and operational impacts to our business," the company said in a statement posted on its website.
"For example, we are shipping tires closer to our customers, securing the raw material supply to our factories, transferring production of selected key product lines from Russia to Finland ...."
The Russian factory has 1,600 employees, according the the company, reporting net sales in Russia and Asia of around $378 million.
Nokian is one of seven international tire companies with factories in Russia. Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Michelin Group, Pirelli Tyre, Titan International Inc. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. are the the others, along with four domestic makers.
None of the others thus far have commented on what actions they have taken or might take in light of the situation.
Nokian said it has been monitoring the situation "with great sadness," and is hoping "for a quick diplomatic solution to this tragedy. For us the safety of our employees is number one priority. We will do everything we can to support our Nokian Tyres team in this situation."
The company said all of its heavy tire production is done in Finland.
"We do not want to speculate on possible future sanctions or how the situation in general will evolve," Nokian said. "We will announce any material direct impacts to Nokian Tyres as appropriate and in a timely manner."
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. imports of tires from Russia last year were valued at $47.1 million (1.14 million units), or less than 0.3% of total imports, while imports from Ukraine totaled $12.6 million (450,930 units).
Roughly 75% of Russian imports ($35million, 901,000 units) were passenger tire units, and 94% of Ukraine imports were in the passenger tire category.
There are four tire manufacturers in Ukraine: C.J.S.C. Rosava; Dneproshina J.S.C.; Eurotire Inc.; and Valsa Bila Tserkva Tire Factory.