Dunlop sale/Cooper purchase unlinked, says Apollo
Apollo Tyres executives have denied there is any link between the recent sale its Dunlop operations in Africa and its later purchase of Cooper Tire. Apollo agreed to sell most of its South African operations to Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. for $60 million last month. However, speaking minutes after the company announced it had agreed to buy Ohio-based Cooper Tire for $2.5 billion, Apollo vice chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar told The Times of India that two moves cannot be directly linked:
“No, you can’t connect the two. The Dunlop deal was based on brand logic. Worldwide, Goodyear and Sumitomo own the Dunlop brand. We only owned it in 32 countries in Africa, so it made more sense to sell it and focus on our own brands, which is Apollo, Vredestein and now Cooper.”
However, while it may not have made a massive impact on the overall decision of whether or not to buy Cooper Tire, this doesn’t explain what the walls of one floor of the company’s global research and development centre in Enschede, Holland – which only opened at the start of this year – were plastered with the Dunlop moniker just weeks before the company sold its interest in the brand. What appears more likely is that the company took the decision to rationalise its brand portfolio ahead of the announcement of the Cooper purchase. After all, Cooper brings with it Cooper, Avon, Mastercraft, Mickey Thompson, Dick Cepak, Austone, Dean, Stafire, Roadmaster and Chengshan – not to mention the dozen private brands it produces for mainly US-based customers.