Production at Goodyear Dunlop’s Fulda factory in central Germany had barely began to return to half-normal on Tuesday June 30 when the plant received a second bomb threat. The police was called and again the site was sealed off to minimise danger to employees and suppliers. Whether the caller is the same man alleged to have called a day earlier, causing production to stop for twelve hours, is not clear.
HiQ franchisee, Easy Tyre & Autocentres has appointed Emma-Jane Kisby as marketing manager for all 27 of its retail centres. According to a statement detailing the appointment, Kisby is taking on the challenge of driving the business forward across the network, while re-branding every store in the process. The branches recently became part of the Easy Tyre & Autocentres franchise when HiQ launched its accelerated franchise programme.
Emma-Jane Kisby has spent the last eight years working on prestigious designer brands for Aspects Beauty Company, gaining annual promotions until becoming area sales manager in charge of 35 sales consultants three years ago.
Following the official bankruptcy of Amtel-Vredestein NV in April, and the subsequent sale of Vredestein Banden and its subsidiaries to Apollo Tyres, the Russian holding company’s Kirov manufacturing operation entered voluntary bankruptcy on 22 June. OJSC Amtel-Vredestein entered bankruptcy on 3 June 2009 with subsidiary OJSC Tyre Complex AmtelChernozemje doing the same on 20 May 2009. According a report in the local Kommersant newspaper, the decision was reportedly made after accounts payable mounted up to 982 million rubles (£20 million) in the first quarter 2009 compared with a net asset value of about 840 million rubles (£16.337 million).
Kommersant estimates that the total debt load of Amtel-Vredestein’s Russian units adds up to more than US$450 million. Negotiations with creditors, the largest of which is said to be Sberbank, which is apparently owed US$100 million, are currently underway. However, the newspapers are also speculating about some more ‘creative’ kinds of debt restructuring. Arguably, the most interesting of these sees Kommersant name Pirelli as a foreign investor willing to expand its interests in Russia beyond the tyre production joint venture it signed with Russian Technologies in November 2008. Apparently certain government officials discussed the idea with the leadership of Amtel-Vredestein in late March. However, the newspaper also quotes Sibur Russian-Tyres director, Igor Karavaev as saying he considers it unrealistic that any investors will be able to purchase Amtel’s assets, especially foreign players.
Systems and components supplier ArvinMeritor reached an agreement on June 29 to divest another of its light vehicle chassis businesses, bringing the total number of units divested this year to three. The company reached a definitive agreement to sell its Gabriel Ride Control Products North America business to private equity firm OpenGate Capital.
The company notes that the sale of the US portion of Gabriel Ride Control Products North America has been completed. The closing of the transaction for the subsidiary in Mexico will be completed once the license agreements and pending permits have been finalised, which the company expects will occur within two months.
Continental AG reported “open” to a proposal from the Syrian-owned MAG group to buy the Clairoix plant scheduled for closure later this year. Reuters quoted a Continental spokesman as saying: “We will send a response in the course of this week.”
The rights issue recently conducted by Trelleborg has resulted in the following increase of the number of shares and votes in the company during June 2009.
Prior to the rights issue, there were in total 90,357,261 shares in Trelleborg, of which 9,500,000 shares of series A and 80,857,261 shares of series B, corresponding to 175,857,261 votes in total. The number of shares has through the rights issue increased by 180,714,522, of which 19,000,000 shares of series A and 161,714,522 shares of series B. The number of votes increased by 351,714,522. As of June 30, 2009, there are in total 271,071,783 shares in the company, of which 28,500,000 shares of series A and 242,571,783 shares of series B, corresponding to a total number of 527,571,783 votes.
Bridgestone-supported dealer network First Stop has over the past few months held a series of roadshow appearances across the UK, helping to educate drivers about the importance of tyre safety. The events involved the First Stop team visiting nationwide locations to raise awareness of the importance of checking tyre pressures and depth. The decision to do so was inspired by Bridgestone’s recent online survey, which showed that over 88 per cent of motorists don’t check their tyre pressures weekly (according to 1,500 female and male UK car drivers, aged 18-55+ years questioned in March 2009).
Speaking about the roadshow Dan Woodward, retail marketing analyst for First Stop said, “This was a great opportunity for us to get out and meet new and existing customers. We were surprised by how many motorists taking advantage of the free tyre checks were driving on tyres which were incorrectly inflated or had dangerous levels of tread depth.”
Jaguar Land Rover engineering have made the Pro-Cut on-car brake lathe a recommended piece of equipment for their dealerships worldwide, saying that “It eliminates brake noise, removes corrosion and delivers improved braking performance.” Jaguar tested the Pro-Cut 9.0 brake lathe at two service centres, on two separate test cars driven by two different drivers. Pro-Cut Europe demonstrated the system on one brake disc and a Jaguar mechanic completed the job under supervision, before the cars were tested.
The cars, and more importantly the brakes, were put through their paces to determine the effectiveness of the equipment. Both test drivers could not believe the transformation of the vehicles following the demonstration, reporting an 80 per cent increase in efficiency within five stops and more response from the brake pedal.
Cuba is a country renowned for Castro, Caribbean Climate and Classic Cars. But the streets of Havana and Santiago de Cuba are not just made resplendent by the presence of four-wheeled relics from the island’s pre-communist era – motorcycles predating the 1960s are still to be found, and are lovingly maintained in working order by owners who wouldn’t be caught dead riding the rubbish the Soviet Union later sent over. Of course keeping a classic bike on the road is not so easy in a country embargoed by the US for close to half a century…So Metzeler has decided to lend Cuban riders a hand.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced Kumho Tire USA’s recall of 36,292 Mohave A/T light truck all terrain tyres. The recall is restricted to the sizes LT225/75R16, LT245/75R16, and LT265/75R16 produces between December 7, 2008 and June 13, 2009. According to the NHTSA announcement, vehicles fitted with these tyres may experience “difficult” handling performance when operated under loaded conditions or when changing lanes. This condition, the announcement adds, may result in the vehicle swaying, resulting in the possibility of a crash occurring.
Kumho will notify owners and replace the tyres free of charge. A safety recall is anticipated to get under way during July.
Bridgestone UK group companies Bulldog Remoulds (Holdings) Ltd and Kingsway Tyres Ltd recently achieved the Investor in People Standard. Both companies have been awarded the status for the first time and are said to be thrilled to gain public recognition of their achievements, after a rigorous audit of their working practices.
Vellco has agreed a new one-year contract with North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). According to a company statement sees the company commit to collect and recycle scrap tyre arisings from across county, generated from the household waste and recycling centres, as well as from fly-tipping incidents throughout North Yorkshire. Vellco Limited were awarded the contract in a competitive bid against several other bidders and are “delighted” to have been chosen by NYCC.
Commenting on this agreement, Bob Fell, operations director of Vellco Limited said: “We are absolutely delighted to sign this agreement with North Yorkshire County Council, whom we have already worked with for a number of years. We are committed to giving a professional service throughout the entire Vellco operation, and this is borne out by the confidence that NYCC has demonstrated by utilising Vellco, and our ability to deliver what they need.”
Worcestershire based wheel manufacturer Titan Europe Plc has warned that its anticipated revenue for the first half of this year may be 35 per cent lower than a year ago. The company, whose two major shareholders are Mefro Wheels GmbH and Titan International subsidiary Titan Luxembourg Sarl, notes this figure in particular reflects the further weakening its second quarter performance.
“Trading conditions remain difficult with the construction market continuing to be severely hit by the global recession,” stated a June 29 company trading update. “The directors expect by the half-year, based on constant exchange rates, that construction market volumes will be down by about 50 per cent whilst agricultural and mining markets will be down by between 25-30 per cent.
Following 27 years with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Michael Sigillito has been appointed the sales and marketing director for sister company Firestone Industrial Products Co. Sigillito most recently served as director of retail, channel and Canadian marketing for Bridgestone Americas.
In a somewhat unexpected change in direction the US International Trade Commission will recommend a series of duty increases on Chinese-produced passenger and light truck/SUV tyres exported to the US. Monday’s decision, which is being forwarded to President Obama for his consideration, would place a three-tiered additional duty on the tyres based on their value – 55 per cent in the first year, 45 per cent in the second year, and 35 per cent in the third year. The fees would presumably make the retail cost of Chinese tyres more expensive in the US.
The duty plan was not sought by the United Steelworkers, which petitioned the government for a rollback in the number of consumer tyres imported from China. On June 18, the ITC ruled in favor of the USW by a 4-2 vote. That same 4-2 majority made the duty recommendation. In addition to the duty, the ITC recommends that the President direct the US Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide expedited consideration of Trade Adjustment Assistance for firms and/or workers that are affected by the imported tyres. (Tire Review/Akron)