Continental is to bid for Phoenix, the German manufacturer of automotive-related rubber products. Phoenix is based in Hamburg, has 10,000 employees and sales last year were 1.153 billion euro. Key products, accounting for around half of sales, are fluid handling hoses, conveyor belts and air springs. Industry experts estimate that the acquisition will cost 227 million euro. Net debt stands at 277 million euro.
Goodyear says it has developed new synthetic rubber products, which could cut its current spend on natural rubber by 15 per cent over the next three years. The company has been working on the project for some time, but extra impetus was provided by the recent steep rises in natural rubber prices. The new products are already being utilised in production.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been fined 274,050 dollars for unsafe conditions at its Akron powerhouse after an employee was buried in coal up to his neck while cleaning a coal bunker in September. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Tuesday that it had issued six serious and four wilful citations to Goodyear for violating worker-safety procedures. A Goodyear official said the company has taken steps to improve worker training to avoid accidents. The company has also made unspecified physical changes to the powerhouse.
Some 100 white-collar workers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. whose jobs were outplaced to a sub contractor may not have their jobs much longer. Some will be out of work as soon as April 30, and others will follow them until most are gone by 2006. The workers at the sub contractor, Affiliated Computer Services Inc. of Dallas (ACS), were told they would keep their same pay, vacation, years of service and other benefits. Last month, Goodyear announced it was transferring 100 jobs in Akron to ACS under a 10-year agreement. Goodyear said it expected the move to save it 45 million dollars.
Firestone East Africa Ltd. (Nairobi/Kenya) is set to commission a 114-million Shilling (0.8 million Pounds)truck and bus tyre-assembly machine as it struggles to emerge from a profit-decline over the last two years. The development will be coming on the back of another 1.1 million Pounds project. The new assembly machine is intended to enable enhancement of product range including the production of tubeless tyres. The firm has been shaken by huge profit drops since 2002.
The Indian tyre industry is expected to register impressive growth coming from a combination of both organic and inorganic development, according to credit rating agency ICRA. Consolidation of the Indian tyre industry is expected to continue through mergers of existing players. While organic growth would come from raising efficiency levels, inorganic growth would be achieved through alliance and mergers and acquisitions, it said. To leverage growth, ICRA predicted that tyre makers would expand their dealerships and explore tie-ups among themselves to increase customer bases. Outsourcing would also play a major role as many companies have entered into offtake agreements with tyre producers in South-East Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Chinese media reports that Japanese tyre makers are poised to boost their production capacities in China. Bridgestone Corp. plans to launch a new plant in the eastern city of Wuxi in September and will also triple the monthly output capacity of an existing plant for truck and bus tyres in Shenyang, to 90,000 units. The moves will cost Bridgestone a total of around 20 billion yen (100 million pounds). Yokohama Rubber Co. is due to double the annual production capacity of its passenger car tyre plant in Hangzhou, to 1.4 million units. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. will launch production in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, in April. Demand for passenger vehicle tyres in China grew to around 60 million units in 2003 and is expected to show an annual rise of 20 per cent in the future, demand for truck and bus tires, 80 million units last year, is forecast to grow even faster at over 40 per cent.
SmarTire Systems Inc. has announced it has signed an agreement with Motohaus Powersports Ltd. to distribute SmarTire’s second generation tyre monitoring product for motorcycles in the UK. Motohaus Powersports is a well-established distributor of motorcycle accessories and has a strong base of dealers throughout the UK. “With safety high on the agenda for UK riders and with tyre pressures so critical to the handling of modern high-performance motorcycles, we are excited to be offering SmarTire’s tyre monitoring system to the UK market,” says Owain Evans, Managing Director at Motohaus.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is reported to want to sell off its automotive group. The automotive parts division accounted for almost half of last years sales. Cooper-Standard Automotive, based in Michigan, had revenues of about 1.66 billion US dollars in 2003. Cooper said it could use money gained from selling the auto unit to reduce debt or invest in tyre operations. Chairman Thomas Dattilo said the company may be better off concentrating on its tyre business and expanding overseas.
Michelin Apollo Tyres would pump in about 67 million euro to set up a new plant at Ranjangaon in Maharashtra (India) to produce 350,000 bus and truck radial tyres annually. 51 per cent of the investment will come from Michelin, the balance from Apollo. As the production is scaled up in future so too will the investment.
Hankook Tire has introduced a new corporate identity as part of efforts to engineer a new growth surge. The new logo aims to reflect progressive and innovative thinking, specialised technology, passion, sophistication, dynamism, and internationalism. It also visualizes brand individuality. The symbol stands for speed and flight and is combined with a mixed-script logotype. The new logo was designed by UK designer Neville Brody.
Amtel plans a foreign listing of up to 40 per cent of its shares in October next year. Amtel controls a third of the Russian tyre market. The company expects a capitalisation of around 500 million US dollars. Amtel is considering buying a plant in Iran and is looking at expanding in Malaysia. Meanwhile an agreement with Nokian is being dissolved, though the final arrangement between the two has not yet been confirmed.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on Tuesday again said it needed more time to finish a financial report for federal regulators because of its probe of accounting problems at overseas operations. The company said after the markets closed that it would tell the Securities and Exchange Commission that its annual 10-K report will be delayed because of the investigation of accounting problems in Europe and elsewhere. Goodyear shares plunged more than 5.6 percent, or 44 cents, in extended trading Tuesday, after closing at 7.84 dollars, up 26 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. However, after-hours trade climbed on the news of the delay, rising 3.5 per cent to 8.12 dollars on INET.
Officials at Goodyear’s wire plant in Asheboro (North Carolina/USA) reported Tuesday that an arbitrator has completed his confidential review of union authorisation cards from employees at the facility. Based on the review, which followed a 90-day union campaign at the Asheboro manufacturer, the arbitrator determined that a simple majority was achieved. Thus, the USWA is recognised as the exclusive representative of the Asheboro bargaining unit employees, as defined previously by the union and the company. Over the next several weeks, Goodyear and USWA officials will meet to discuss the bargaining process going forward.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company plans to launch AVON Tyres USA, a new collection of performance passenger, light truck, sport truck and motorsport tyres. Completely new to the U.S. and Canadian markets, the AVON Tyres USA line is the first ever to have been designed and engineered from consumer feedback data. All data was collected and analyzed by The Tire Rack, the country’s largest independent tyre tester, through its web site, www.tirerack.com.