Several changes in Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s finance leadership have been announced. Filling the soon to be vacant position of vice president and controller, North American Tire is Richard J. Noechel, currently vice president of finance for North American Tire. Noechel replaces Thomas A. Connell, who intends to retire on March 1, 2011. The position at present occupied by Noechel will be filled by Laura K. Thompson, who currently serves as vice president of business development. Stepping a rung up the ladder into Thompson’s old job is David Campopiano, currently senior director of business development. All abovementioned changes will take effect on March 1, 2011.
Ahead of a company conference call scheduled for December 9, Titan International chairman and CEO Maurice M. Taylor Jr. declared “2010 has been a great building year for Titan and I believe that 2011 will be our best year ever from what I see today.”
Divestment Part of Trelleborg’s Continued Focus on Selected Segments
Some two weeks after it acquired Watts Tyre Group – a purchase that Maurizio Vischi, president of the company’s Trelleborg Wheel Systems business area, described as a “further step in our strategy to continuously strengthen our positions in selected segments,” the Swedish firm has taken a further step towards focusing on its core business areas by entering into an agreement to divest its roofing operations. This part of the Trelleborg Engineered Systems business area will be taken over by Axcel, a Nordic private equity fund with offices in both Copenhagen and Stockholm. The acquisition requires approval of the appropriate authorities, and is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2011.
Conti Names Replacement for “Controversial” Koerfer
The seat on Continental AG’s Supervisory Board left vacant by Rolf Koerfer’s resignation on November 29 is to be filled by Professor Siegfried Wolf. The 53-year old Austrian, who is also chairman of the Board of Directors at Russian Machines OJSC, was nominated to the Conti board on December 4; Wolf’s nomination received the Board’s unanimous support and his appointment will be applied for at the local court in Continental’s home town of Hannover, Germany early this week.
During November one member of Grouptyre entered administration and four more formed a joint venture to maintain supply to national customers. Now that the joint venture is poised to make another acquisition, this time of WJ Wood & Sons, Tyres & Accessories exclusively interviewed Grouptyre managing director Karl Naylor in order find out more about the reasons behind the recent events. Needless to say a lot has been happening within Grouptyre over the last few weeks, with what Naylor diplomatically described as “unforeseen problems at one of its larger member companies…resulting in rapid changes having to be put in place to maintain its national coverage and service to customers.”
However, while the market officially got wind of the story in November, it appears Grouptyre’s members had been making every effort to secure Broadway’s future as far back as the summer. At this point plans were being discussed to address concerns that Broadway’s financial performance was weaker than Grouptyre was comfortable with.
Pirelli’s sale of its broadband business is a done deal. On November 29, the Italian company reported the sale of Pirelli Broadband Solutions SpA to Advanced Digital Broadcast Group has been finalised and the transaction is now completed and closed. Advanced Digital Broadcast paid approximately 25.1 million euros in cash and 400,000 listed shares, equal to approximately 7.2 per cent of its capital, for the broadband business. With regard to these shares, Pirelli & C. has undertaken a lock-up commitment for the first two months following the closing, as well as a put option for Pirelli & C. and a call option for ADB, which can be exercised within two years.
Ceat Ltd. Acquires ‘Ceat’ Name from Pirelli, Pushes Exports
India’s Ceat Ltd. now holds global ownership of the ‘Ceat’ brand name after purchasing the rights from Pirelli & C. SpA for nine million euros. The company is said to have made an upfront payment of 4.5 million euros to Pirelli with a bank guarantee for the balance. The purchase allows Ceat to export tyres under the eponymous brand anywhere in the world, and Ceat shares jumped 7.4 per cent to 138.85 rupees as details of the deal became known.
Trelleborg has signed an agreement for the acquisition of the UK’s Watts Tyre Group through its Trelleborg Wheel Systems business area, an action the Swedish company believes will strengthen its industrial tyre segment position through geographic expansion and an increased presence in the aftermarket. Watts has annual sales of approximately £27.4 million and about 230 employees. The purchase consideration amounts to approximately £21 million.
As a means of thanks for their contribution to the company’s recovery from the recession, Continental AG’s 146,000 employees worldwide will receive a one-off payment. Executive Board member responsible for human resources, Heinz-Gerhard Wente, announced that a total of 45 million euros has been set aside for this purpose. “After the serious economic and financial crises last year, our employees throughout the world demonstrated their commitment, working hard to contribute substantially to Continental’s speedier-than-expected recovery,” he said. “In recognition of this commitment, the Executive Board decided on the one-off payment for the spring of 2011, even though the company is still facing several major challenges.” Exactly how much an employee will receive depends on where he or she lives, however. While Continental’s 45,000 workers in Germany will receive 400 euros, those employed in lands with ‘lower living costs’ will receive only 200 euros.
Rome based newspaper Il Messaggero reports that Pirelli & C. SpA is negotiating a 1.2 billion euro loan in order to refinance its debt. Although Pirelli has yet to comment on this news, Il Messaggero says the tyre maker has hired Banca IMI SpA, BNP Paribas SA, UniCredit SpA, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale SA to arrange the debt. This deal is, the paper adds, expected to be completed within a few weeks.
OE Truck Tyres Sole European Market Highlight in October
First the good news: Sales of truck tyres to European OEM customers during October 2010 were significantly above those of a year earlier. According to market data made public by Pirelli and Michelin, OE truck tyre sales rose by at least 75 per cent year-on-year (Pirelli’s figure is 75 per cent, Michelin reports segment growth at an even healthier 81.2 per cent). Strong growth in the original equipment business was not matched by the aftermarket, however. Pirelli reports a three per cent drop in European replacement market truck tyre sales during October, while Michelin’s figures show the decline to be 1.5 per cent.
Bridgestone to Cut More than 400 North American Jobs
On November 16, Tyres & Accessories reported a number of redundancies at the Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions facility in Muscatine, Iowa. These job cuts were announced within the context of restructuring taking place within Bridgestone’s North American operations. It now appears the 18 job losses at the Muscatine site are not an isolated occurrence within Bridgestone’s restructuring plans; the company expects to cut approximately 425 North American jobs before the end of August 2011.
Conti Celebrates 10 years of Not Popping Moët et Chandon Corks
Continental Industrial Tyres has partnered with the worlds leading champagne producer, Moët et Chandon, for ten years now – all the time cooperating so the brand which is so famous for producing celebratory wine can avoid popping a cork for the wrong reasons.
Just as Continental Industrial Tyres are able to develop and produce products tailored specifically to customers' specifications and requirements, so the vintners and champagne makers at Moët et Chandon are able to meet individual demands. Both companies can also look back on long traditions. Admittedly, the champagne manufacturer was founded in 1743, making it older than Continental, which was established in 1871. Continental produces over 100 million tyres every year. In 2008 Moët et Chandon produced some 36 million bottles of champagne, with a good 100 million bottles being stored in the manufacturer's cellars, up to 35 metres below the ground.
Yokohama Releases English Version of its CSR Report 2010
The English language version of Yokohama Rubber’s “CSR Report 2010” is now available. This translation of the 32-page Japanese report released in September is downloadable in PDF form from the company’s “Environment & Social Activities” website at http://www.yrc-pressroom.jp/env_en/index.shtml. The report covers the period between April 2009 and March 2010 and details various aspects of Yokohama Rubber’s approach to corporate social responsibility.
Less than two weeks after former Grouptyre member Broadway Tyres went into administration, new owner Traxx Tyres has announced its purchase of the company’s assets. Tyres & Accessories understands that Traxx Tyres, which is new to the UK market, is connected to successful tyre wholesaling in Australia. It is fair to say that Traxx has taken the British market by surprise with its first UK acquisition, reportedly outbidding competing offers for Broadway Tyres. Sources close to the negotiations told T&A that Broadway will not be a member of Grouptyre under its new ownership and that instead the national wholesale operation will be running its own logistics operation from High Wycombe in order to maintain continuity of supply to its customers and in competition with Traxx Tyres.