Conti Acquires 51% of Matador Tyre & Rubber Business
Continental AG has acquired a 51 per cent interest in Continental Matador Rubber s.r.o. based in Puchov, Slovakia. The tyre and conveyor belt business, together with the rubber processing equipment business unit, were separated beforehand from the parent company Matador a.s., which now holds a 49 per cent interest in the joint company. “This shareholding enables us to expand our existing joint venture with the Matador Group in the field of truck tyres. At the same time we are significantly strengthening our production and operations base in central and eastern Europe and making lasting investments here,” explained Manfred Wennemer, chairman of Continental’s Executive Board. The newly founded company will remain a legally independent unit with sole responsibility for its business.
Matador Group CEO Dr. Štefan Rosina said “we have been looking for a strategic partnership for our Passenger and Light Truck tyre business very seriously. Therefore, I’m glad that all conditions of this strategic alliance were successfully carried out and I am sure that this joint venture with Continental will give a new future to our tyre business. We will remain in this joint venture company as an important shareholder and this will enables us to strengthen our position in the automotive sector – our new strategic business for the Matador brand.”
Responsibility for the Matador brand will remain solely with the brand’s management. Continental states that extensive know-how in the field of tyre development and production, plus the ‘special aspects’ of the central and eastern European markets, put the new company in a very advantageous starting position.
“Matador provides an excellent customer base, particularly in central and eastern Europe. With the high level of expertise and motivation among our new colleagues in Puchov, we will be able to defend our newly-acquired position as the clear number one in this region over the long term,” Wennemer added. “Our strategy is to create a service centre for our worldwide tyre research and development as well as tyre testing at Puchov to further increase our efficiency. Therefore the product development of selected product segments will be transferred to Puchov.”
The integration of Continental Matador Rubber’s tyre research and development capacities into the global structures of Continental’s PLT tyre division will also help in achieving current growth targets. Continental’s global production standards will be introduced at the Puchov site and production capacity gradually extended to over seven million car tyres. This will involve an investment volume of more than 25 million euros by 2009. If the plant can achieve regional support and competitiveness, substantially greater investment in the Puchov production site, to increase annual tyre production to 16 million units, is conceivable. The Puchov plant will become integrated into the Continental worldwide production system. And this is not the first time the two manufacturers have worked together; Continental and Matador have co-operated successfully since 1998 in a joint venture to produce truck tyres in Puchov, with each party holding a 76 and 24 per cent share respectively.
The new venture will also result in Matador’s rubber processing equipment business unit, which produces machines for the tyre industry and employs around 250 people at the Puchov site, becoming integrated into Continental’s Mould and Machine Factory (FMF). The design and production facilities already on hand in Slovakia constitute an ideal complement to FMF’s existing strategy. Further synergies will be achieved in the fields of distribution and purchasing.
“The acquisition of Matador’s conveyor belt section will also strengthen our business unit ContiTech Conveyor Belt Group in central and eastern Europe. This gives us wider access to the markets there”, explained Wennemer.