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HELSINKI, May 8 (Reuters) - Finland’s Nokian Tyres reported weaker than expected first quarter earnings due to unfavourable exchange rates and mounting competition in the passenger car market, sending its shares lower.
Nokian Tyres first-quarter operating profit fell 12 percent from a year ago to 53.9 million euros ($60.4 million). Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a profit of 59.9 million, with estimates ranging from 50 million to 64 million.
Shares in Nokian turned lower after the report and were down 2.1 percent by 1132 GMT.
“Operating profit decreased due to the highly competitive tire market in Central Europe, as well as currencies,” Chief Executive Hille Korhonen said in a statement.
Nokian, which has a large plant in Russia and a smaller one in Finland, said changes in currency exchange rates cost it 5 million euros in the quarter.
Sales at its passenger car tyres unit fell 1 percent in the quarter and operating profit fell 15 percent from a year ago.
“Average Sales Price with comparable currencies decreased slightly due to product and country mix. Summer tire inventories are at a high level in Central Europe and in Russia,” the Finnish company said.
$1 = 0.8928 euros Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Jane Merriman and Louise Heavens