Fri April 27 12:00 am 2001 in category Stock exchange releases
Nokian Tyres plc Stock Exchange Release 27 April 2001 at 8 a.m.


Earnings per share in the January to March period amounted to EUR -0.35 (EUR -0.41 in the first quarter of 2000). Net sales were up by 14.1% to EUR 76.6 million (EUR 67 million). Operating profit totalled EUR -1,9 million (EUR -4.4 million). Nokian Tyres is well positioned to reach sales growth in excess of 10%, and to make a better profit in the financial year 2001.


The net sales and net profit of Nokian Tyres saw a marked improvement from the previous year despite the fact that the European tyre market shrank by 4% in the first quarter. At the same time, the Nordic tyre market fell by 8,8%. Extremely mild weather in the autumn delayed the sale of winter tyres in the Nordic region until after the turn of the year and the sales of summer tyres began later than usual. The market share of Nokian Tyres increased in Nordic countries and sales picked
up notably in Russia and North America. The general slowdown in economic growth incited uncertainty in the tyres market, and
reflected particularly strongly on the heavy tyres business.

In the January to March period, Nokian Tyres booked net sales of
EUR 76.6 million (EUR 67 million), showing an increase of 14.1%
on the corresponding period a year earlier.

Fixed costs totalled EUR 36.5 million (EUR 33 million). The share
of fixed costs of sales decreased to 47.7% (49.0%).

The operating profit of the Nokian Tyres Group rose to EUR -1.9
million (EUR -4.4 million). Operating profit from manufacturing
was EUR 4.8 million (EUR 2.9 million) and operating profit of the Vianor tyre chain amounted to EUR -6.6 million (EUR -6.0 million). Vianor's gross margin saw a marked improvement on the previous year.

Net financial expenses were EUR 3.2 million (EUR 2.1 million). Performance in the first quarter was taxed by non-recurring costs
of approximately EUR 1 million from the integration of Vianor
and from purchases of rubber mixture from other manufacturers.

The cost of raw materials for the manufacturing business rose
by 8% on the previous year.

Profit before taxes was EUR -5.0 million (EUR -6.6 million). Net
profit for the period totalled EUR -3.7 million (EUR -4.3 million).

Return on net assets was 11,3%.

Cash flow for the period was better than planned and on the
previous year's level.

The Group employed an average of 2,489 (2,258) people and 2,495
(2,257) at the end of the period. The tyre retail outlet chain
employed 1,026 (798) people at the end of the period.


Nokian passenger car tyres sales picked up by 15.5 % on the
previous year to EUR 39.2 million (EUR 34.0 million).

A successful product mix and price increases helped raise the profitability of sales activities from the previous year. All major
market areas except for Sweden generated steadily improved sales figures. The market share of Nokian Tyres increased in all Nordic countries. Particularly active markets included the USA, Russia and
the South European countries. Sales were boosted by new summer tyres featured in the product range, such as Nokian NRZi, the ultra high performance, high-speed summer tyre. Deliveries of this tyre to the consumer market were launched early in the year. Nokian brand summer tyres also performed well in the tyre tests of various trade magazines.

As a result of production investments and productivity-boosting measures, production volumes grew considerably, thereby
contributing to an improved service level.


Nokian heavy tyres generated sales in the amount of EUR 13.3 million (EUR 13.2 million), showing an increase of 1% on the first quarter a year earlier.

Tyres for forestry machinery sold well in the major market areas.
Nokian Tyres was even able to strengthen its position in the US
market, despite the weakening growth of the US forestry industry.

The uncertainties involved in the global economy and the severe problems of the European agricultural sector held back sales growth
in other product groups. Clients purchasing original equipment installations were particularly cautious about major long-term tyre acquisitions. Financial uncertainty and high overall stock levels
in the industry made the price competition increasingly fierce. Nevertheless, Nokian Tyres was able to implement the scheduled
price increases.

The contract manufacturing launched with Michelin proceeded as
planned. The first agricultural tyres manufactured by Michelin were introduced to the market early in the year, and truck tyre
deliveries will begin in the early summer. The contract will
improve the delivery capacity and sales volumes of these products.


Sales of Nokian bicycle tyres amounted to EUR 1.6 million (EUR 1.6 million), in other words, the same as in the previous year.

Original equipment installations sold especially well in Finland.
In contrast, trading in the domestic after market was slower
than a year earlier.

Trading in the after market developed favourably in the USA and
Japan with the sale of high profit margin special tyres.


Nokian retreading materials were sold for a total of EUR 2.4
million (EUR 2.1 million), which is 14.6% more than a year earlier.

Sales of Nokian Noktop retreading materials developed well in all market areas. Sales were particularly brisk in the Nordic countries, where demand for winter retreading materials picked up from the previous year. New client relations were established in North
America, where the sale of winter retreading materials has
experienced a promising start.


Vianor's net sales of EUR 29.4 million (EUR 22.4 million) represented an increase of 31.1% from the first quarter a year earlier. The acquisitions made during the last year, had an impact on the sales
growth. Vianor's operating profit was EUR -6.6 million (EUR -6.0 million). Relative profitability improved significantly, and absolute profitability was on previous year's level. The improvement could be primarily attributed to better profit margins, and more efficient cost management achieved through the integration of operations.

The Nordic tyre retail trade saw positive development in January
and February as the winter season continued all the way to January,
whereas the cold spring delayed the launch of summer tyre sales.

Vianor's integration and development projects continued. During the period under review, Vianor's information systems were upgraded.
A real-time sales and stock follow-up system is now being used in Finland, Norway and Estonia. The system will also be introduced in Sweden by the end of August. Planned measures were taken to make
the visual image of the Vianor outlets more consistent and to standardise the product selections.

Some EUR 1-1.5 million will be invested in the integration of the
tyre chain this year, distributed evenly over the year.

The Vianor chain currently comprises 157 sales outlets. To streamline the structure of the chain, small sales outlets were sold and new outlets were acquired in major consumer centres.


Nokian Tyres set up a subsidiary, RoadSnoop Ltd, to take care of
the commercialisation and global deployment of the intelligent tyre concept. The company's key responsibilities include developing the intelligent tyre technology and promoting the commercial development and marketing of the concept. RoadSnoop's product development
partner is Flextronics International.

Product development associated with the intelligent tyre concept continued and co-operation negotiations were held with car,
equipment and electronics manufacturers.

The first RoadSnoop product will be introduced to the market in 2002.


Investments in the amount of EUR 11.7 million (EUR 14.4 million)
were made during the period. Fewer investments were made than a
year earlier; instead, stronger emphasis was placed on more
efficient utilisation of previous investments.

During the period, the first phase of the mixing mill investment
was completed, and the mill will be brought fully on line on 1 May 2001. This will improve the delivery capacity of all tyre types,
and mixtures need no longer be purchased from other manufacturers.

The company has budgeted total investments of EUR 56 million for
2001. Major investments include machinery and equipment purchases
to eliminate production bottlenecks, and a heavy tyre testing
machine that will speed up the heavy tyres R&D and testing operations.

In addition, a 32,000-square metre logistics centre will be
constructed for Nokian Tyres in the town of Nokia, Finland. Nokian Tyres will rent the premises from a real estate management company
and will relocate its passenger car tyres product range and
logistics operations to these facilities.

Construction of the warehouse and logistics centre will begin
during the course of the spring, and project completion is
scheduled for January 2002. The facilities provide storage
capacity for 700,000 tyres.


The Annual General Meeting of Nokian Tyres held on 28 March 2001 approved the financial statements for 2000 and discharged the Board members and the presidents from liability. A decision was made to
pay a dividend of EUR 0.65 per share. The matching date was set
to 2 April 2001 and the payment date to 9 April 2001.

The number of Board members was set at five. The following people were elected Board members: Bo-Erik Haglund, D.Ec., h.c.; Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Chief Financial Officer, Nokia Corporation; Matti Oksanen, Senior Vice President, Fortum Oil and Gas Oy; Hannu Penttilä, Managing Director, Stockmann plc; and Antti Saarialho, Professor (emeritus).

Authorised public accountants KPMG Wideri Oy continue as auditors.

The Annual General Meeting authorised the Board of Directors of
Nokian Tyres to make a decision within one year from the Annual
General Meeting to increase the share capital with one or more
rights issues. The Board of Directors also has the right to
deviate from the shareholders pre-emptive right to subscribe for shares, provided there is a compelling financial reason. The
share capital of the company may increase by a maximum of
FIM 20 million (EUR 3.4 million) as a result of the share
issues included in the authorisation. A maximum of 2,000,000
new shares may be issued, each with a nominal value of FIM 10
(EUR 1.68).

Bond loan to the personnel

The Annual General Meeting approved the Board of Directors' proposal
to offer a bond loan with warrants to the personnel of the Nokian
Tyres Group and to a wholly owned subsidiary of Nokian Tyres plc.
A deviation will be made from the shareholders' pre-emptive subscription right, since the bond loan with warrants is a part of the Group's incentive scheme.

The bond loan with warrants amounts to FIM 2,400,000 (EUR 0.4 million). A total of 10,800 type I bond certificates, 9,600 type II bond certificates II and 9,600 type III bond certificates will be issued. 600,000 warrants will be attached to the bonds, 216,000 of which will be attached to the type I bond certificates and marked with the symbol 2001A; 192,000 will be attached to type II bond certificates and marked with the symbol 2001B; and 192,000 will be attached to type III bond certificates and marked with symbol 2001C.

The subscription price of a Nokian Tyres plc share with warrants 2001A shall be nineteen (19) euros. With warrants 2001B, it shall be the average price of a Nokian Tyres plc share weighted by the share trading volume on the Helsinki Exchanges between 1 October and 31 October 2001. With warrants 2001C, it shall be the average price of a Nokian Tyres

plc share weighted by the share trading volume on the Helsinki Exchanges between 1 April and 30 April 2002. The price of shares
subscribed for with warrants 2001A shall be reduced by the amount
of dividends paid after 28 March 2001 and before the subscription
on the matching date of each dividend payment. The price of shares subscribed for with warrants 2001B and 2001C shall be reduced by
the amount of dividends paid after the commencement of the period
for which the subscription price was determined, and dividends paid before the subscription, on the matching date of each dividend
payment. The share subscription period for warrants 2001A shall
begin on 1 March 2003, for warrants 2001B on 1 March 2004 and for warrants 2001C on 1 March 2005, and shall end on 31 March 2007 for
all warrants. As a result of the subscriptions, the share capital
of Nokian Tyres plc may increase by a maximum of FIM 6,000,000
(EUR 1 million) and the number of shares by a maximum of 600,000.

A positive outlook for sales of passenger car tyres and for the
Vianor tyre chain persists. A decrease is to be expected in the
OE car trade and the demand for heavy tyres original equipment installation, which is why sales efforts will focus more sharply
on the after markets, especially North America and Russia. The production volumes of heavy tyres will be adjusted to meet the

Vianor will strive to iron out the dramatic seasonal sales
fluctuations by complementing its product portfolio with suitable
non-seasonal products and services.

Raw material prices are expected to rise less sharply than we anticipated. The extension of the mixing department, which will be commenced in the early summer, will eliminate the need to purchase rubber mixtures from other suppliers, thereby helping to reduce raw material costs.

Nokian Tyres' production volumes and productivity have improved
from the previous year. There has also been a clear improvement in contract manufacturing compared with the previous year.
The product range features a large number of new products with a high profit margin. We have developed a new All Weather Plus category tyre for the US market; this is a mid-range product placed between a winter tyre and the all-season tyre commonly used in the US. We expect this new product category to boost our sales and to increase the Nokian Tyres market share in the growing North American winter tyre markets.

Nokian Tyres is poised to reach sales growth of more than 10 per cent and to improve its financial performance in the financial year 2001.

1-3/01 1-3/00 Last 12 1-12/00
Net sales 76.6 67.1 407.9 398.5
Operating expenses 69.9 65.2 334.8 330.1
Depreciation according to plan 8.5 6.4 31.1 28.9
Operating profit -1.9 -4.4 42.0 39.4
Financial income
and expenses -3.2 -2.1 -13.3 -12.3
Profit before extra-
ordinary items and tax -5.0 -6.6 28.7 27.2
Extraordinary items 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Direct tax for the period 1) -1.3 -2.3 8.3 7.4
Profit applicable to
minority shareholders 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Net profit -3.7 -4.3 20.4 19.8

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET 31.3.01 31.3.00 31.12.00

Intangible assets 12.6 9.5 11.5
Goodwill 48.4 50.6 50.2
Tangible assets 194.8 161.9 190.1
Investments 0.4 0.8 0.4
Inventories 93.1 79.5 81.3
Receivables 103.4 99.5 116.5
Cash in hand and at bank 12.6 7.3 14.0

Shareholders' equity 120.4 108.1 131.3
Capital loan 36.0 36.0 36.0
Minority shareholders' Interest 0.0 0.1 0.0
Long-term liabilities
interest bearing 124.1 137.5 125.7
non interest bearing 18.0 17.5 18.1
Current liabilities
interest bearing 80.9 37.7 70.4
non interest bearing 85.9 72.3 82.5

Total assets 465.4 409.1 464.0

Interest bearing net debt 192.4 167.8 182.1
Capital expenditures 11.7 14.4 67.5
Personnel average 2,489 2,258 2,462

KEY RATIOS 31.3.01 31.3.00 Last 12 31.12.00
Earnings per share, euro -0.35 -0.41 1.93 1.88
Equity ratio, % 2) 33.6 35.2 36.1
Equity ratio, % 25.9 26.4 28.3
Gearing, % 2) 123.0 116.3 108.9
Shareholders' equity
per share, euro 2) 14.78 13.66 15.81
Number of shares
(1,000 units) 10,582 10,545 10,582

1) Direct tax in the consolidated profit and loss account is
based on the taxable profit for the period.
2) Capital loan is included in equity

SEGMENT INFORMATION 1-3/01 1-3/00 1-12/00

Net sales
Manufacturing 56.6 50.9 260.8
Tyre chain 29.4 22.4 176.5

Operating result
Manufacturing 4.8 2.9 43.0
Tyre chain -6.6 -6.0 -1.7

Million euros

Mortgages 0.7 5.8 1.4
Mortgage on company assets 0.0 8.7 0.0
Pledged assets 0.1 0.1 0.1
Guarantees 1.2 1.2 1.2

The amount of debts mortgaged for 2.3 5.9 3.5

Guarantees 0.0 0.0 0.0

Leasing and rent
commitments 16.9 15.9 17.2
Acquisition commitments 5.3 5.1 5.3
Not entered interest on
capital loan 0.0

Interest rate swaps
Fair value 0.0 0.2 0.0
Underlying value 8.4 8.4 8.4
Options, purchased
Fair value 0.0 0.0 0.0
Underlying value 0.0 5.0 5.0

Forward contracts
Fair value -1.1 -1.7 1.5
Underlying value 51.2 57.1 58.5

Options, purchased
Fair value 0.0 0.1 0.0
Underlying value 0.0 6.0 0.0
Options, written
Fair value 0.0 -0.7 0.0
Underlying value 0.0 18.5 2.0

Currency derivatives are used to hedge the Group's net exposure.
Currency derivatives are included in the financial result at market
value except for those relating to order stock and budgeted net
currency positions, which are entered in the profit and loss
account as the cash flow is received.
(Unaudited fiqures)

Raila Hietala-Hellman
Vice President, Public Information

For more information, please contact: Kim Gran, President and CEO, tel. +358 3 3407 336

DISTRIBUTION: Helsinki Exchanges and the key media.