Third quarter results from Amcast show the company improving on its position in the previous year. For the previous fiscal year to date sales were similar to this year’s and produced a loss of 25.9 million dollars. This fiscal year to date sales ran to 423.6 million dollars producing a loss of 12 million dollars. Compared to the previous year to date nine out of the company’s eleven operating divisions were showing a profit this year, as against five out of eleven last year. Star of the turnaround is North American Wheels which has shown a six-fold operating income on a sales increase of 24 per cent. The company debt at the start of the year has been reduced by 13.3 million dollars to 185.7 million dollars.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company said it has become aware of an unsolicited “mini tender” offer by TRC Capital Corp. to purchase up to five million shares of its common stock, or approximately 3 percent of Goodyear’s total shares outstanding, for $19.50 per share. Goodyear said it expressed no opinion on the unsolicited offer, but advised its shareholders to exercise extreme caution in considering the offer. “Mini tender” offers are not subject to many disclosure, filing and procedural protection requirements of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and are often structured to obtain shares at below market prices. “Mini-tender” offers – tender offers for less than five percent of a company’s stock – have been increasingly used to catch investors off guard. Many investors who hear about mini-tender offers surrender their securities without investigating the offer, assuming that the price offered includes the premium usually present in larger, traditional tender offers. But they later learn that they cannot withdraw from the offer and may end up selling their securities at below-market prices. Goodyear urged its shareholders to review the terms of the “mini tender” offer carefully and to consult with their financial advisors before considering this offer.
Malaysian conglomerate, Sime Darby Berhad is to concentrate its tyre businesses and float it independently from the parent company (sales of around 3.2 billion US dollars). Key elements of these companies are tyre maker DMIB Berhad with a factory in Selangor and Sime Tyres Int. with factories in Alor Setah and Kedah. A spokesman for Continental confirmed that the German tyre giant wishes to buy 30 per cent of the tyre business, and signed a letter of intent with Sime Darby Berhad on the 26th June. Continental will have the opportunity to increase its share at a later date. This follows an earlier agreement in January between Continental and DMIB and Sime Tyres to share technical support. A former agreement between the Malaysian manufacturers and Sumitomo Rubber Industries had at that point concluded.
30,000 Phantom A/P tyres that Michelin produced between 1997 and 1999 can, in unusual and extreme situations, fail before the profile is under the limit. These tyres can now be exchanged free of charge as Michelin North America announced a voluntary and absolutely precautionary issue, clarifying that this is not a recall.
Auto safety pressure groups in the USA are suing the Department of Transport for allowing car manufacturers to use inferior tyre monitoring equipment. They claim that despite the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recognising that direct tyre pressure monitoring is superior to indirect tyre pressure monitoring, the Department was allowing the use of the inferior product on a cost basis. The groups filing the lawsuit include the New York Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety in New York.
In an article in the Financial Times, Sir Nick Scheele, chief operating officer of Ford, said that the company was making progress on the proposed sale of Kwik-Fit. He is reported as saying: “We’re pretty close on Kwik-Fit; you can anticipate an announcement in the medium term.”
A motorcycle tyre produced by Pirelli’s MIRS system has received OE homologation from bike manufacturer Aprilia for its RSV 1000 model. MIRS production modules are due to be installed at the Metzeler factory in Breuberg, Germany, shortly.
Pirelli unveiled its automatic Continuous Compound Mixing system (CCM) which complements its MIRS tyre production system and allows extremely accurate and environmentally-friendly mixing of up to 40 components. Seven patents have been applied for, with the first one granted in North America. Together, says Pirelli, CCM and MIRS will mean “a new generation of tyres, with performance unimaginable up to now.”
The new Managing Director at the Goodyear Technical Centre in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg (GTC*L) is Jean Bergh (59) after the retirement of Theo Famulok. Famulok has headed up the 900 technicians at Goodyear’s R & D centre since 1994. 900 technicians in Luxembourg develop car, truck and agricultural tyres for Europe as well as for the Asian and African markets.
Bandag has agreed to purchase over 1.5 million of its shares from Lucille A. Carver, widow of the company’s founder and mother of current President, Chairman and CEO Martin Carver. Mrs Carver was a director of the company from 1957 until May this year and the sale reduces the voting power of the Carver family from 78 per cent to around 64 per cent. The total purchase price is $40,183,636.
Goodyear’s Eagle F1 high performance tyre came top in a test of eight premium brands, organised by UK specialist motoring magazine EVO. Drivers rated the tyres in a series of 11 tests over five days – all the tests were conducted “blind” – and the Eagle F1 attained the highest aggregate score as well as winning outright the wet and dry braking categories and coming joint first in the wet lateral test.
Kumho was the overall winner in a test of ten tyre brands, including a number of premium names, conducted by the Australian Consumers’ Association. The tests included cornering and braking in the wet and on dry roads and Kumho was named the best overall performer.
Hayes Lemmerz has announced the sale of its Schenk foundry, sited at Maulbronn, Germany, to Metallwerke Kloß GmbH (MWK), for an undisclosed sum. The light metal foundry produces parts for, among others, the automobile industry and employs 300 staff. MWK has four locations in Germany, plus plants in Hungary and Spain, and employs 650 people.
In an interview with German newspaper “Handelsblatt”, Nick Scheele, President of Ford Motor Company, said that the sale of the Kwik-Fit chain was in its final phase and would provide a cash injection for the car maker. Scheele also announced that there would be a number of factory closures (both the number and locations were unspecified) in autumn 2003.
Michelin recently took the decision to abandon OE orders from GM Europe as the company wants to concentrate on OE business in the more lucrative high performance segment. Michelin said that its North American business with GM is not affected (Michelin is GM’s second largest tyre supplier, with the Uniroyal, BFGoodrich and Michelin brands) but it now appears that GM North America does not want to consider Michelin for future OE projects.