Nokian Tyres has unveiled first-quarter profit up nearly 250% to EUR135m (US$150m), although Russia continues to pose considerable challenges.

Net sales were nonethless down nearly 10% to EUR281m (US$313m), while operating profit was down by 29% to EUR48.3m,

“The end of the year 2014 was very volatile in Russia,” said Nokian Tyres president and CEO, Ari Lehtoranta. “Oil price, rouble valuation and purchasing behaviour changed on a daily basis following the slightest moves in geopolitical and economic environment.

“The situation has somewhat stabilised and our first quarter has gone according to our plans. Biggest negative impacts have come from currency valuations and delay in the start of the winter tyre sales in Russia.

While the whole market has gone down in Russia and CIS, we have been able to improve market share, volumes and margins in all other markets.

“Even if the market development visibility in Russia and CIS is still poor at the moment, we remain confident about our future. We reiterate our guidance for the year and feel positive about the growth opportunities for the future.”