Cooper finalises Serbian acquisition
On 17 January Cooper Tire & Rubber completed its acquisition of the former Trayal manufacturing plant assets in Kruševac, Serbia. A formal signing ceremony was held to mark the official start of Cooper Tire Serbia; this was attended by Serbian President Boris Tadić, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković, US Ambassador Mary Warlick, along with Roy Armes, Chairman, President and CEO of Cooper Tire. During the ceremony Armes stated that Cooper elected to invest in Serbia not only because of its significant economic potential, but also for its quality workforce, geographical advantages and Serbian government support.
“The Serbian government, the Kruševac community and our future employees are very excited about the opening of Cooper Tire Serbia and the economic benefit it will bring to the area,” added Hal Miller, President of Cooper’s International Tire Segment. “In serving the world’s fastest growing markets as well as the world’s largest market, we have expanded our global footprint and ability to respond to evolving demands and customer needs. This acquisition strengthens our presence in Europe and decidedly complements our existing worldwide operations.”
Acquisition of the Serbian facility has been the highlight of a couple of months the tyre maker may otherwise wish to forget; in November 2011, shortly before the Trayal asset purchase was first announced, a lockout was declared at the factory in Cooper’s US home town of Findlay, Ohio. This lockout remains in force and no solution satisfactory to both the tyre maker and the USW union is in sight. Furthermore, the union has already involved Nezavisnost, the union representing workers at the newly-acquired Serbian plant, in its battle against Cooper.