Pre-tax profits have fallen by 41 per cent at the UK arm of tyre manufacturing giant Pirelli, despite turnover rising to almost £400 million.

Pirelli UK Tyres, which has a factory on Dalston Road in Carlisle, has posted pre-tax profits of £16.2m for the year to December 31 2018, dropping from £27.4m.

But the manufacturer's turnover increased 3.5 per cent from £384.1m to £397.4m.

The board said: "In 2018, the overall UK replacement car/SUV market declined versus the previous year.

"The continued commercial strategy focusing on the key premium market segment meant the company was able to maintain its strategic market share in a segment where general market sales continue to grow year on year.

"The results were positively impacted in 2018 by the commercial performance within the UK replacement domestic market.

"UK replacement profitability in car/SUV improved through a positive premium product mix and increases in selling prices versus the prior year.

"The original equipment UK domestic market saw a decrease in sales linked volumes due to lower demand from the UK original equipment manufacturers.

"Improvements within the industrial processes and efficiencies during the year also contributed positively to the overall company result, whilst increases in pensions costs had a negative impact on the result.

"The company has continued with a significant investment programme targeted on the evolution of the UK manufacturing site based in Carlisle with continued focus on manufacturing processes in line with the Pirelli group's premium product strategy.

"The directors are satisfied with the development and performance of the company during the year and with the position of the company at the end of the year."

Pirelli UK Tyres Ltd is part of the wider Pirelli group.

In April, Prince Charles visited the Carlisle factory to mark its 50th anniversary.

The factory is the Italian company’s main UK production site and employs about 900 people.

Italian ambassador to the UK Raffaele Trombetta and HM Trade Commissioner for Europe Andrew Mitchell accompanied the prince.