Toyo enters into railway components JV
Last year, sales of tyres accounted for just under three quarter of Toyo Tire & Rubber’s total net sales. The remainder came from a portfolio of other rubber and chemical products. Included within this non-tyre business is the manufacture of anti-vibration rubber components for railway vehicles; Toyo has now furthered its activities in this area by entering into a joint venture arrangement with Chinese firm Wuxi Meifeng Rubber Products Manufacturing Co., Ltd. On July 5 the two firms signed an agreement to form a new company, “Wuxi Toyo Meifeng Rubber Products Manufacturing Co., Ltd.” This new entity is to be based in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China, and will manufacture and distribute air springs and anti-vibration rubber for railway vehicles. Toyo has invested 30,484 million yen (£234.6 million) in the venture, giving the company a 51 per cent shareholding.
Explaining its motivation for investing in the joint venture, Toyo points out that China intends to build some 16,000 kilometres of railways between now and 2020. Moreover, the Chinese government has announced that a total of more than RMB 5 trillion (£480 billion) will be invested in its mid and long-term railway network plans.
Toyo Tires has more than 50 years’ experience in developing and supplying anti-vibration rubber components for railway vehicles; in addition to supplying to various conventional railway lines in Japan, Toyo also supplied components to the state-of-the-art “N-700” family of bullet trains. The company notes that the extent of its supply chain is expanding from the domestic Japanese markets to other regions such as Europe, North America and China. Introducing its new partner, Toyo states that Meifeng Rubber possesses a high degree of technical prowess in brake pressure films and sealing materials for railway vehicles, and has an established sales network in China’s railroad market.