The head of Continental AG slammed the German government on Monday for failing to tackle an inflexible labour market and said it was being forced to expand in cheaper locations abroad. “The decisions for the next two or three years have already been made. The government and the unions can no longer do anything about it – factories will be built elsewhere”, Chief Executive Manfred Wennemer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
CCR Logistics Systems AG, a German provider of waste-management systems, won a contract from PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, to set up and operate a recycling program for the company’s U.K. dealers. CCR Logistics didn’t say how much the contract was worth. The Munich-based company’s contract includes collecting oil, batteries, tires, florescent lighting and other waste from the dealerships.
Polyester fibre manufacturer KoSa, with regional headquarters in Charlotte South Carolina, will buy Michelin’s textile factory in Winnsboro. The site, which has 185 employees, makes and treats polyester fabric used in tyre manufacturing. The agreement includes a multi-year contract in which KoSa will supply Michelin with fabric for its tyre-making operations.
ArvinMeritor has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its 75 per cent shareholdings in shock absorber producer AP Amortiguadores (APA) to joint venture partner Kayaba Industry. The sale is subject to regulatory approval, and terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced that it has reached global supply agreements to become a major tyre supplier to the Volvo Group in Europe and Brazil. Last month, Goodyear was named standard equipment tyre supplier for the Volvo Group’s Volvo and Mack truck operations in North America. Goodyear, with the three-year contracts, will now be a key supplier to the Volvo Group’s three major truck brands – Mack, Renault and Volvo – on three continents. “Reaching this global agreement with a world-class customer such as Volvo is a major accomplishment and a testament to Goodyear’s product quality, technology and customer service – not only on one continent, but on three,” said Robert J. Keegan, Goodyear’s chairman and chief executive officer.
National waste management specialist The Waste Solution Group (WSG) has merged with waste solutions and environment specialist Credential Environmental Limited (CEL). The agreement took effect on the 17th 2003. Both WSG and CEL will continue to operate autonomously, with Managing Directors Mick Fishwick (WSG) and Mike Jordan (CEL) remaining in post. All Directors of WSG will remain in post and Mick Fishwick will join the CEL Board.
Phillips Carbon Black has announced its net profit in the year ended in September had jumped 244 per cent on the back of a 10 per cent growth in sales. A spokesman for Phillips Carbon Black said significant growth in carbon black offtake was expected next year. “We have reached an agreement with a leading tyre manufacturer for export of 25,000 tonnes of carbon black. We are negotiating with another tyre manufacturer for a similar deal,” he added. The company is raising the capacity of its Baroda plant from 18,000 tonnes at present, to 88,000 tonnes. The production capacity of its plant at Durgapur is being scaled up by 25,000 tonnes to 150,000 tonnes.
Amcast Industrial Corporation has reported financial results for its fiscal 2004 first quarter ended November 30, 2003. First quarter sales of 112.9 million US dollars compared with 112.2 million US dollars in the prior year. Net income for the quarter was 1.0 million US dollars, versus a prior-year quarterly net loss from continuing operations of 1.8 million US dollars. Amcast’s first quarter profit was due to continued strong performance by wheel plants and by the Wapakoneta, Ohio aluminium components plant.
Sir Tom Farmer is backing the automotive trade with his latest business venture. This involved a package of co-ownership where a co-owner puts up to 45,000 pounds into the business matched by 100,000 pounds of Farmer funding. Within five years the co-owner has the option to sell the business to Sir Tom Farmer. As co-owner the investor will be paid a salary, and will receive a profit related bonus each year. Sir Tom Farmer’s organisation takes care of all administration for the business, leaving the co-owner to get on with running the business on a day to day basis.
In the USA, the TBC Corporation has issued a bullish financial outlook for 2004, boosted by the contribution of 225 National Tire & Battery retail stores, acquired last month from Sears, Roebuck & Co. TBC expects earnings of around $1.80 to $1.90 per share; a 25 per cent increase over last year’s figure. NTB’s contribution will be around 15 cents per share. Net sales are forecast to be in the region of $1.7 to $1.8 billion. TBC has plans to add 20 company-operated tyre retailers and 25 franchised Big O stores next year, giving the company a total of 1,215 retail locations.
Toyo Tire & Rubber has published its figures for the first half fiscal 2004 (six months ended 30.9.2003), which show a decrease in turnover to 900 million Euro. For the year as a whole, Toyo anticipates a turnover of 1.93 billion Euro, with tyres accounting for 1.233 billion, or 64 per cent. The full year operating income is predicted to be half the previous year’s level, at 50 million Euro, of which 75 per cent will come from tyres.
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire is the 100 per cent OE supplier of tyres for the redesigned 2004 Acura TL sedan. BFNAT will supply Bridgestone Turanza EL42 all-season tyres and Potenza RE030 summer performance tyres in the size 235/45 R17W. The Acura TL is designed to compete with vehicles such as the BMW 5 series and Lexus ES300.
Goodyear has won global agreements to supply OE tyres to the Volvo Group in Europe and Brazil, following the recent award of a North American supply contract. The three-year contracts mean that Goodyear will be a key supplier to Volvo’s three major truck brands – Mack, Renault and Volvo. The tyres will be produced at Goodyear’s factories in Danville (Kansas), Colmar Berg (Luxembourg), Wittlich (Germany), Kranj (Slovenia) and Sao Paulo (Brazil).
Falken tyres came top in a series of tests conducted by US magazine Consumer Reports. The Falken Ziek ZE 512 scored best among a number of US, European and Japanese brands, with the tests including wet and dry braking, handling, rolling resistance, aquaplaning, ride comfort and noise.
Cooper has expanded its Far Eastern presence with a joint venture with Taiwanese tyre manufacturer Kenda. The two companies will build a plant to make radial passenger and light truck tyres, which will be situated in the Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China and jointly owned by the two manufacturers. Construction will begin in the middle of next year, with tyre production starting late 2005. The tyres will be aimed at markets outside China. Speaking of the deal, Cooper’s Thomas A. Dattilo said: “It will allow us to add capacity and lower costs in our tyre business. It also gives us a base for sales in China down the road as the Chinese market increases significantly over the next decade.”