November 13, 2018 / 12:41 PM / a year ago

Tyre maker Nokian sets wheels in motion in China and Japan

HELSINKI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Finland’s Nokian Tyres has set its sights on future growth opportunities in China and Japan, Chief Executive Hille Korhonen said on Tuesday.

Nokian, which is known for its winter tyres for icy roads, makes most of its sales in Russia and Northern Europe and is building a new factory in the United States.

However, it is also increasing its presence in China by setting up distribution and logistics operations there while testing the Japanese market with a local distributor, Korhonen told investors in Helsinki.

The fledgling Chinese winter tyre market is growing, she said, noting that there is no legislation for compulsory use of winter tyres.

Japan, meanwhile, has a huge but stable and well protected market for winter tyres, she said, adding that Nokian does not expect significant volumes from the two countries in the near term.

“We are building the platform for future growth with these activities,” Korhonen said.

Nokian updated its financial goals for the next three years to target annual growth of more than 5 percent.

Last month the company reported a surprise fall in quarterly earnings and cut its full-year profit outlook, citing issues in Russia and Norway in addition to new emissions standards that have weighed on the sector. (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl Editing by David Goodman)

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