Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ sports division bounced back from a poor second quarter, posting an operating profit of ¥1,041 million (€8.4m-$9.9m) in the third quarter, against a loss of ¥519 million (€4.2m-$4.9m) in the year-ago period.

Sales in the sports division, which includes brands such as Srixon, XXIO, St. James and Dunlop, rose by 3.1 percent to ¥19,970 million (€162.1m-$191.2m) in the third quarter, led by strong golf equipment sales after lockdowns ended in Europe and the U.S. Dunlop’s golf business performed well in Japan, both online and in the stores, but tennis sales were reported to have been sluggish.

The figures are not quite comparable with those of a year ago, due in part to the pandemic and a major change in distribution. As already reported, Babolat, which is the biggest player in the Japanese tennis market, set up a new Japanese sales subsidiary in Japan four months ago, taking over the distribution from Sumitomo; which continues to be the supplier of the French brand’s tennis balls

Anyhow, the sports division generated a loss of ¥1.9 billio0n (€15.4m-$18.3m) for the first nine months of this year, compared with a profit of ¥2.3 billion in the year-ago period, as its sales went down to ¥49.8 billion (€404m-$479m) from ¥62.3 billion in the comparable 2019 period. For the full year, it is expected to post a loss of ¥1.5 billion (€12.2m-$14.4m) on sales of ¥68.0 billion (€553m-$654m), as compared to a profit of ¥3 billion on sales of ¥80.7 billion in 2019. Sumitomo had previously expected worse results for the year.

As a group involved also in tires and other operations, Sumitomo Rubber is expected to generate an operating margin of 3.4 percent this year on total revenues of ¥775 billion (€6.3bn-$7.5bn), down from ¥893.3 billion in 2019.