The ‘Russian Period’ an Emotional Time, Reflects Apollo Vredestein CEO
Speaking on the termination of Vredestein’s five-year connection with Russia’s Amtel in 2009, Apollo Vredestein BV CEO Rob Oudshoorn has admitted in a company publication that “everyone at Vredestein let out a collective sigh of relief” when the cooperation finally ended. Apollo Tyres’ acquisition of Vredestein Banden BV was concluded last May following a prolonged period of financial difficulty for parent company Amtel-Vredestein N.V., and expectations remain high that the Indian company will inject fresh life into its Dutch subsidiary.
“This ‘Russian period’ has been an emotional time,” Oudshoorn admitted. “Although much has happened in the past four years, I remain convinced that our strategic starting points for the (Amtel) combination were solid. Due to a range of circumstances, however, the way in which the strategy was elaborated left much to be desired and had major consequences. At the end of this time everyone at Vredestein let out a collective sigh of relief. Not only because a painful cooperation had come to a close, but also because we quickly found an excellent new partner that we have known for years.”
The Dutch company’s acquisition by Apollo Tyres, Oudshoorn believes, gave Vredestein the chance to achieve the fundamental goals it had first laid out in 2004. “Honesty compels me to say that our new strategic starting points are not all that different from those we developed four years ago,” he explained. “Apollo is attractive for Vredestein because it opens up access to production capacities for the lower tyre segments along with specialist technological know-how.”
Yet the Apollo Vredestein CEO recognises the Apollo cooperation can also deliver what the tie-up with Amtel never could: “Naturally, the ability to offer new products will play a large part in the future of our company,” he commented. “This will include the introduction of the Apollo brand on the European market and the opening up of possibilities on the Asian market for the Vredestein brand as well as Maloya (part of the Vredestein group since 1993) and Regal (an Apollo Tyres South Africa brand). We will prepare all possible introductions with great care: The products have to suit their new markets with regard to scale, quality and costs. This may take some time.
“Do not expect a speedy introduction of the umpteenth low-price brand that interests no-one due to its low level of quality and low margins,” Oudshoorn continued. “You can expect a deliberate ‘brand architecture’ and a product portfolio that involves the latest technological developments, sufficient commercial manpower and dedicated media support.”