Cooper acquires 100% share in Kunshan JV operation
By mid-March Cooper Tire & Rubber should be the proud 100 per cent owner of Cooper Kenda Tire. Upon finalisation of the US$116.5 million transaction the former 50 per cent Cooper owned joint venture operation will be renamed Cooper Kunshan Tire (contingent to government approval) in recognition of the city in China where it is headquartered. According to Cooper Tire, the transaction should be completed by March 15 through a wholly-owned company subsidiary.
“CKT employees and management have worked tirelessly to build a world-class operation that manufactures high quality and competitive products,” commented Allen Tsaur, vice-president and general manager, Cooper Asia Operations. “We look forward to continuing our role as an important part of Cooper’s global supply network.”
Hal Miller, Cooper’s corporate vice-president and International Tire Segment president, added: “The contribution of our partners in launching and growing CKT to its current production levels has been invaluable, and the joint efforts from both partners were mutually beneficial. Our new ownership position will allow us to further capitalise on the prospects we see for continued growth and competitiveness. We are extremely excited about the role this operation can and will play in Cooper’s future.”
The Cooper Kenda Tire, or CKT, operation currently manufactures of passenger car and light truck tyres for export to North America and Europe and Cooper states the operation “is well positioned to supply the domestic Chinese market in the future.” Cooper and Kenda first announced their joint venture plans in December 2003, and at the time company president, CEO and chairman of the Board Thomas Dattilo referred to the partnership as a “significant step forward in our Asian strategy…It also gives us a base for sales in China down the road as the Chinese market increases significantly over the next decade.”