Pirelli has boosted its 2004 operating result to 380 million euros, a 42 per cent increase compared with the 268 million achieved in 2003. Last year’s figures show consolidated revenue of 7,130 million euros up 6.9 per cent on 2003’s results. The manufacturer’s net financial position settled at -1,475 million compared with -1,745 in 2003.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced that it has reached an agreement with Titan Tire Corporation to sell its North American agricultural tyre assets. The sale, valued by Goodyear at $100 million, will include the company’s manufacturing plant, property and equipment in Freeport, Illinois as well as a licensing deal. This part of the agreement would see Titan produce Goodyear branded agricultural products in North America. Goodyear reports that the sale will result in a revenue reduction of about $200 million per year.
Bridgestone has announced that it will invest 227 billion yen (£1.13 billion) in its global tyre manufacturing business between 2003 and 2007. In the announcement the company explained that is has been operating a kind of five-year investment plan, in order to meet growth in demand. According to a Deutsche Bank report, the company is to invest 88 billion yen (£438 million) in addressing the shift in demand towards high-performance tyres and tyres of large rim sizes.
To meet the increase in demand for passenger car tyres in emerging markets, Bridgestone is investing 49 billion yen (£244 million) in the expansion of its production capacity in Asia and Latin America. The company is also planning to put 50 billion yen (£249 million) towards serving the growing demand for truck and bus tyres and tyres for construction equipment. In addition the company is planning to have spent another 40 billion yen (£199 million) on raw material production expansion by the end of its investment programme.
Tyre dealers across India are urging the government to lower the import duty on tyres to five per cent from the existing 20 per cent. The request aims to “checkmate the activities of the domestic tyre majors,” reports Team India.
Private equity group CVC Capital Partners, the owner of Kwik Fit, has appointed Deutsche Bank to advise on a possible sale or floatation of the retail business. CVC said it and the German bank would work together on determining the best course for Kwik-Fit, according to a BBC report. Kwik-Fit is expected to be valued at more than £700 million with some estimates reaching £1 billion. Analysts report the company has strong cash flows and would make an attractive takeover target.
“Deutsche and CVC are going to evaluate the strategic options for Kwik-Fit, but no decision has been taken yet in terms of whether it will be a trade sale or an IPO (initial public offering) or in terms of timing,” said a spokesman for CVC. Famous in the UK for its “You can’t get better than a Kwik-Fit fitter” advertising slogan, Kwik-Fit is Europe’s largest independent auto parts, repair and replacement specialist. It has some 2,300 outlets including its mainland Europe subsidiaries – Speedy in France and Pit Stop in Germany.
Serbian tyre company, Tigar, has signed a contract for long-term co-operation with Michelin and the World Bank Belgrade, reports Tanjug News Agency.
Under the contract, Michelin aims to take over 50.6 per cent of Tigar by 2007. By 2010, the plan is for small shareholders to hold only 30 per cent of company shares whilst Michelin will own 70 per cent.
JE Design has added a 16 spoke “Multispoke” light alloy wheel to its product range. The wheel rim is available in 7×17”, 7.5×18” and 8×19” for the shadow silver version (CSS) as well as 7.5 x 18” and 8×19” for the ‘Chrome-Look’ version (SLC). The latter puts special emphasis on ensuring a highly durable finish. JE Design also provides a 3-year warranty on the chrome finish.
Workers at Michelin’s Stoke-on-Trent Remix plant have voted to take industrial action after a dispute over pay conditions. Members of the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) at the factory supported strike action by almost three to one and industrial action short of strikes by just over four to one. 81 per cent of the T&G members took part in the vote.
UK car production fell 3.7 per cent or 5,286 units in January 2005, reports the SMMT. At the same time output for the home market climbed 4.3 per cent. However, production for export markets fell by 7.5 per cent, compared to a growth of 12.4 per cent a year ago.
Italian tyre manufacturer Marangoni presented its latest winter tyre to members of the European press last week. The Meteo HP was launched in the South Tirole region of Italy and will be aimed squarely at the high performance segment. The new tyre type will be available in time for next season (2005/2006) in 15 popular sizes with indices mainly between T and H, but with three going all the way up to V. The new tyre will be available in 15 to 18 inch diameters and with low ratios of 65 to 40.
Titan International Inc reported net sales of $105.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2004, up 30 per cent, from the $81.5 million the company achieved at the same point in 2003. Pro forma net sales for the 2004 year were $461.1 million, an increase of 32 per cent over 2003 pro forma net sales of $347.9 million, Tire Reivew reports, quoting the company.
Gross profit was $13.1 million for the fourth quarter, and for the year, gross profit more than doubled to $79.5 million in 2004. Gross profit in 2003 was $29.7 million. Net income for the year improved $47.8 million, to a profit of $11.1 million, versus a loss of $36.7 million in the prior year. “Titan has experienced another remarkable quarter, and we are proud to report a profitable 2004,” said Maurice Taylor Jnr, Titan’s president and CEO. “The operating results for the year show Titan’s employees worked hard to return the company to profitability when presented with increased demand in the agricultural and construction markets. Although it’s been a bumpy ride, we will not forget to maintain focus on reducing costs and further enhancing efficiencies. Many of our customers are predicting another strong year in 2005.”
Maserati is to participate in the entire 2005 American Le Mans Series race calendar, following discussions between IMSA and Maserati Corse. After 48 years absence from Sebring the team will make its debut on 19 March with a factory racing car and has teamed up with Pirelli.
A fire a Continental Tire’s Mayfield plant, caused minor injuries to two workers. According to the associated press, Fire investigators said that it appears the fire started inside the ductwork, but was under investigation. The fire started shortly before noon and caused minor burns to the arm of one worker and singed the hair of another, plant manager Hank Eisenga is reported as saying. The blaze, which started accidentally in a corner of a large room where rubber-related chemicals are mixed, was quickly extinguished by workers before Mayfield firefighters arrived, Mr Eisenga said. The plant manager added that the plant was expected to be back to normal within 24 hours. Continental ceased production at the Mayfield at the end of last year. The fire affected one of only two areas in which the factory is still operating – storage and mixing.
The Tuner Grand Prix is making its debut in the UK this September, in association with Vauxhall VXR and Milltek Sport. The event is being hailed as a chance to see the UK and Europe’s tuning companies show what they do best – make the fastest cars money can buy.
Castle Donington will host the race, which will see tuning companies competing for the title of Winner UK Tuner Grand Prix.
There are different classes and an overall unlimited class so that every vehicle type has the opportunity to win a title and trophy, explains John Thorne of Milltek Sport, co-sponsor of the event.
“If you’re involved in modifying cars you have to be there to show the World what you can do, the Trade Village will be at the centre of the event in the Paddock area and is selling out fast and if you’re into tuned motors then there will no greater event of the year than the Milltek Sport UK Tuner Grand Prix,” says the company.