According to US media sources Continental’s decision to lock its Mayfield tyre plant has been finalised. Together workers and unions had undertaken a last attempt to divert Continental from resolving the situation through closure but their cost cutting suggestions to make the factory more competitive were to no avail.
According to German media sources Continental is threatening engineers to relocate development resources from Hanover to countries such as the Czech Republic, Romania or Malaysia if they do not agree on proposals to increase weekly working times from 37.5 to 40 hours – without an increase in earnings.
Negociations between employees and the German tyre manufacturer will be held early next week. If an agreement is not reached130 jobs in the R&D department, where there are 700 employees in total, would be threatened according to Bernhard Trilken, chief of truck tyre development in Hanover-Stöcken.
In preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games Parisian leaders set a competition to find an unmistakable architectural indication of Paris. The winner, Explorations Architecture, took the title with a tower made from tyres that ends in the colours of the Olympic rings.
If the city were to win the Olympic rights the French area of Les Batignolles would exhibit the observation tower alongside the Olympic village. The architect’s draft plans an 80 metre high, bright tower, which provides most with a reminder of Michelin’s Bibendum. The tower will be constructed with helium filled tyres so that it is flexible and able to move with the wind. The tyres will be interconnected with four ropes, and the highest of the five rings will be illuminated in the Olympic colors.
Michelin has held a meeting in New York where it announced that it is currently utilising its US truck capacity by 100 per cent. The market, which was up six per cent in H1, has dropped in the last two months, especially in the mass market when high performance tyres kept growing.
The company claimed that its price increases in the US are holding however, as they have already commented, they do not think that US customers can cope with a 3rd price increase this year. The company also claims that it doesn’t need another price increase to meet its 04E targets.
Michelin is fending off critics by reassuring all interested parties that its earnings and sales will improve this year, despite reiterating the fact that it expects higher raw-material prices to limit its growth in the second half.
“Raw-material prices are and will continue to rise and put pressure on margins,” Michelin’s CEO Edouard, told French newspaper Le Figaro.
JP Morgan has downgraded Goodyear Tire & Rubber from “overweight” to “neutral.”
Analysts claim that the downgrade is based on “valuation” and the company’s “less bullish growth prospects in 2H.” So far this quarter the company’s share price has appreciated 18 per cent in absolute terms and this combined with slowing growth rates has brought down the company’s rating. JP Morgan also asserts that Goodyear is unlikely to witness significant gains from its recent price increases.
Superior Industries International, Inc expects its operating results for the third quarter of 2004 to be less than expected. Management expects about a 5 per cent decline in unit wheel shipments for the third quarter, and net earnings of approximately $0.20 per diluted share.
“Our major OEM customers have announced planned production cuts for the second half of the year based on weak summer sales of cars and light trucks resulting in an unanticipated decline in unit wheel shipments for the company. In addition, operating difficulties led to a delay in the ramp-up of production in certain of our factories following this year’s extended seasonal shutdowns,” said President and COO Steve Borick.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s autoindustry.co.uk website is reporting that Pirelli and Continental are to enter into a joint venture in Romania. The £27 million project will be split 80:20 between Pirelli and Continental, with Pirelli holding the majority share. The operation will be based in Slatina and will produce 30,000 tonnes of steel thread a year for tyres sold by both firms in Eastern Europe.
Bridgestone Corporation (Japan) has increased its shareholding in Bridgestone Firestone Maxiprest, its listed South African new tyre distributor and tyre management service provider. The increase will see Bridgestone’s stake rise from 66 to 70 per cent.
It is uncertain whether Bridgestone intends to increase this stake or make an offer to minority shareholders de-list the company. Takashi Wada, the chairman and chief executive of Bridgestone SA Holdings and chairman of Bridgestone Firestone Maxiprest, was unavailable for comment.
Gordon Sinclair, the company secretary at Bridgestone Firestone Maxiprest, commented said that “from his understanding” Bridgestone SA Holdings did not have any intention of increasing its stake in the company.