Sibur Planning to Leave Tyre Business
Sibur is planning to exit the tyre business “eventually,” in a move that would mark the end of the firm’s tyre subsidiary – Sibur-Russian Tyres – in its current form. Speaking to journalists at a recent press conference, Dmitry Konov, chair of the executive board and president of Sibur said he expects a significant degree of consolidation amongst the Russian tyre makers in the coming years. The company’s eventual aim is to dispose of the tyre production assets “at a profit,” he explained.
For some time Sibur has been working on acquiring the assets of the bankrupt Amtel NV, having acquired Amtel’s debts over the summer. The situation is complicated, but according to a Sibur spokesman, “Sibur now has full operational control of all the assets of Amtel.”
Sibur said the three domestic tyre makers need to broaden the range of tyres they make, adding new sizes and dimensions in consumer tyres and improving the technology used in truck tyres. In consumer tyres, it is all about raising the profile of the existing brands and removing the negative connotations of the made in Russia label. This is not expected to mean. According to a report in the European Rubber Journal (ERJ) this does not mean Sibur Russian Tyres expects to compete with Michelin and Nokian at the top of the brand tree, but rather to offer “fierce competition in the mid range.”
This means investing in the Voronezh 2 tyre plant, which has been standing idle since Amtel’s bankruptcy. ERJ added that the mixing room “still needs to be installed to make silica compounds for tyres.” A Sibur spokesman reportedly said it was possible competitor Nizhnekamskshina might participate in that investment, but side stepped details of how the two companies could be working together as a joint venture.
Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported that Sibur Holding and Nizhnekamskshina, intend to merge their tyre back in August. At the time the news that the two companies were in talks was confirmed by a Tatneft official.