Hankook Tyre has announced a 57.9% increase to its operating profit in fiscal 2012 on  sales up 8.3% to KRW7.029tn (US$6.31bn).

The company's operating profit for the same fiscal year was KRW912.9bn.

Despite a stagnant global economic situation during 2012 accompanied by the eurozone financial crisis, Hankook Tyre said it was able to set a global sales record on the back of a sharp increase in sales performance of the company's ultra-high performance (UHP) tyres.

Demand for Hankook Tyre's UHP tyres continued a sharp rise, it said, with an accumulated global sales performance showing 30.2% growth over the year. In particular, the UHP tyre sales in emerging markets including Russia, CIS and Latin America led the growth, collectively achieving 86.5% increase year over year.

Expansion of the original equipment (OE) fitment portfolio highlighted by growing partnerships with premium automakers also contributed significantly to the company's sales record. Hankook Tyre's OE supply contracts to global premium automakers jumped by 27.6% year over year, led by factory-installation of UHP tyres to BMW New-1 and -3 Series, Lincoln MKZ, as well as Audi, Volkswagen and Chrysler brands. In China, OE fitment contracts to Audi alone more than doubled registering year over year increase of 156%.

Hankook Tyre also saw fast growth in the United States recording sales of $1.2bn in 2012, an increase of 20% over 2011. Increased brand recognition and demand, both in the areas of replacement and original equipment tyres, was a leading factor to this growth, the company said.

"Hankook is dedicated to providing tyres to consumers and our OE partners that meet the quality and performance that they have come to expect from the Hankook brand," said Byeong Jin Lee, president of Hankook Tyre America. "Our continued efforts to build brand awareness and to provide the highest level of product value have certainly helped us in the US and we will continue our efforts in 2013 and beyond."

"Despite stagnant global economic situation, Hankook Tyre was able to continue its upward growth trend in 2012 by firmly placing our top priority to deliver the highest tyre performance and quality to our customers around the world," says Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tyre. He also adds, "We will continue our aggressive investment in R&D and brand equity enhancement in order to strengthen Hankook Tyre's position as a premium brand, and proactively pave our way towards becoming the global top-five tyre company by 2014."

In 2013, Hankook Tyre aims to "overcome the continued unfavourable global economic situation with its proactive market penetration in emerging economies where automobile market is expanding and also with steady market supply to advanced countries where replacement equipment (RE) segment is also rising."

Hankook Tyre's annual target for global sales revenue in the fiscal year of 2013 is set at KRW7.369tn.