Private equity business ABN Amro Capital, part of Dutch group ABN Amro, has acquired a 74.6 per cent stake in Dunlop Aircraft Tyres. Royal Bank of Scotland will provide senior debt facilities, according to local news sources. Growth plans are now envisaged with expansion planned both in the US, where where Dunlop Aircraft has some retreading business, and particularly in the Far East, where a new satellite operation is envisaged.
China is seen as the most likely site fro any such satellite operation, but the exact location of that has yet to be decided. However, the proposals are expected to come to fruition in the next 12 to 18 months.
The 130 or so workers who were able to return to work at Longbridge may have found it a relief, but market watchers and union representatives are similarly sceptical about the long-term prospects for Nanjing Automobile-produced MGs in Birmingham. Nanjing has not confirmed how much of the new (bright orange) MG was actually built in Britain. According to reports, its engine was definitely made in China. Nanjing originally said it plans to build 15,000 cars a year at Longbridge in the “first phase.” This compares with 200,000 MGs that the corporation is planning to build at its plant in China. And as long as production remains at 15 per cent of its pre-closure levels the prospects for factory suppliers remain similarly uncertain.
For Marangoni Retreading Systems, innovation Ringtread retreading technology is guided by the concept of a “production island”, i.e. a highly automated multi-purpose work centre with input of raw materials (compounds and tyre for retreading) and output of the end product (the retreaded tyre). The result of this philosophy is the new generation of “Ringbuilder” building machines, in version 3000 for large retreading firms and 2500 for medium-sized retreaders. Taking up from where the previous RB2500 left off, the RB 3000 further develops the concept of high-level automation and throughput.
Less than three months after stepping into the role of Amtel-Vredestein Group COO, Sergei Bokhanov has tendered his resignation, effective as of June 1. According to the company Mr. Bokhanov is leaving Amtel-Vredestein to accept a position with a company unrelated to the tyre or automotive sectors.
“Sergei played an important role in helping the company complete its transformation into a premium passenger car tyre manufacturer and leading tyre retailer, and he has been a valuable member of our management team during the numerous acquisitions and disposals the company completed over the past year,” said CEO Alexei Gurin. “We wish him every success in all his future endeavours.”
About 500 tyres and four vans were stolen during a break-in at a branch of Watling Tyres over the May bank holiday weekend. The thieves smashed through a wall at the Grove road, Northfleet branch of the independent tyre dealer some time between the evening of May 27 and May 29. After disabling the building’s alarm system the thieves ransacked the premises and loaded tyres into four company vans, two of which were later recovered.
Gravesend Police have appealed for any person with information about this incident to contact them on 01474 565091.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems (TWS) has ‘reinforced’ its wheel sales network by strengthening its relationship with a key material supplier in order to offer its customers a complete system for forest and farm machines. Trelleborg wheels, manufactured at plants in Savsjo (Sweden) and Hadsten (Denmark), use high quality steel, which is supplied by SSAB, the biggest Scandinavian sheet steel manufacturer focused on the production of advanced high strength steel.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems designs, produces and distributes a wide range of tyres and complete wheel systems for forestry and agricultural machines, lift trucks and other material-handling vehicles. The Group is globally present in 42 countries and with its European sales network of 140 sales specialists, it satisfy the needs of customers and support the sales increase year by year.
A ruling handed down by the US Supreme Court has set a precedent limiting employees’ ability to sue an employer for pay discrimination in cases relating to decisions made years earlier. The court decided in a 5-4 ruling on a case centred upon the application of deadlines for complaining about discriminatory pay decisions that it would become too difficult for employers to mount a defence against any claims “arising from employment decisions that are long past.”
The plaintiff, Lilly Ledbetter, instigated legal action against Goodyear Tire & Rubber based upon her claims that after 19 years of employment at the company’s facility in Gadsden, Alabama she was earning US$6,000 a year less than the lowest-paid male employee performing the same work. Ms Ledbetter argued that her gender was the primary causal factor for this pay inequality, which she claimed been ongoing for a number of years. A jury initially made a decision in Ledbetter’s favour and awarded her $3.8 million, later reduced to $360,000.
Smart Repairs are a smart option for those wanting to restore the appearance of their vehicle without sinking a large sum of money into the process – and an even smarter option for those in the automotive refinishing industry. This is a fact well known to Ayce Systems, a leading UK supplier of smart repair systems, consumables and aftermarket support. And given that this company’s client list includes some well-known names – the UK operations of Renault, Peugeot and Fiat are but three – it’s safe to say Ayce Systems knows a thing or two about the smart repair business.
The company’s product range is sizeable and includes numerous smart repair systems for vehicle bodywork and interiors, but the Ayce Systems display at Brityrex, naturally enough, focused upon their alloy wheel repair line-up, including the WheelRite Pro, an item Acye says incorporates everything needed to repair and refurbish kerbed, scratched and corroded alloy wheels up to repainting stage.
Following negotiations that lasted some three years, on December 18, 2006 the Council of the European Union unanimously adopted the REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) Regulation. With the stated key objectives of REACH being the registration of chemical substances and to transfer a measure of responsibility for the safe use and handling of chemicals and hazardous substances from EU member states to those companies producing and importing such substances, this is a piece of legislation that the tyre industry cannot ignore. And it comes into effect on June 1.
As a tyre wears the chemicals contained within are released back into the environment, and while research indicates that the pollution created by tyre wear particles accounts only a small proportion of traffic pollution, there are numerous substances involved. According to the 2006 annual report released by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA), the European tyre and rubber industry utilises approximately 4,000 raw materials, of which 90 per cent are preparations. Therefore it is perhaps not surprising that the report also indicates the industry has been identified as belonging amongst the five downstream users to be most heavily affected by the REACH provisions.
When Peter Gaster is not acting as NTDA chairman, the other hat he wears is as group managing director of Kings Road Tyres (for details of his first speech in this role see this month’s TAFF awards coverage). On this occasion the conversation focused largely on KRT’s product range, the recent influx of OTR products and why many manufacturers failed to turn out at this year’s event.
With more tyres than any other stand at the show, Kings Road Tyres’ Brityrex exhibit marked itself apart from the rest. The majority of what was on show came from the company’s wide range of quality private and exclusive brand commercial vehicle tyres, but KRT also had selections from its passenger 4×4 ranges (including Cooper products) on show.
According to the Environment Agency’s Tyre Watch Programme, every year in the UK around 450,000 tonnes of used tyres are produced and require some form of reuse or disposal. That is the equivalent of some 50 million car tyres, and with vehicle ownership expected to grow between 30 and 60 per cent over the next two decades the potential environmental threat posed by waste tyres will become more acute – unless a suitable solution is embraced.
At Swansea University engineers are seeking such a solution through their research into new methods of recycling tyres. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, made possible by Department for Trade and Industry funding, is being conducted by the university’s School of Engineering Materials Research Centre under the overall supervision of Dr David Isaac, a Reader at the Centre. Dr Isaac has been working as part of a research group studying various aspects of polymers and composites.
(Akron/Tire Review) Russian tyremaker Amtel-Vredestein N.V. announced the beginning of test production at its new facility in Voronezh. Amtel tyres will be the first to be produced there, followed by Vredestein and Maloya tyres after new rubber mixing equipment is installed by December.
The new 44,000-square metre facility was modeled after the tyremaker’s Vredestein Banden plant in Enschede, Holland. Voronezh II will initially produce approximately 2.5 million passenger car and light truck tyres per year, which could be expanded up to 4.1 million tyres per year with additional investment, according to Amtel-Vredestein.
Toyo Tire & Rubber have announced the sale of their Australian subsidiary’s automotive interior parts business. This move comes eight years after the parent company in Japan discontinued its involvement in the automotive interior parts business. The Australian subsidiary, Toyo Tyre & Rubber Australia Ltd, will now focus solely upon its tyre sales and distribution role.
The transfer sees the company’s facilities in Sunshine, Victoria changing hands, along with 69 Automotive Interior Parts Business employees. Toyo has not released specific details regarding the division’s new owners.
For N.E. Wholesale looking good isn’t the most important attribute they like to shout about but it certainly helps when operating in such a competitive industry. You may have read in a previous edition, N.E. Wholesale who’s head office is based in Middlesbrough have undergone a revamp in bringing their brand into the new decade and have opted for a simple yet classy look for their new logo.