The cost of Michelin products in the US will increase as of February 1. Prices for Michelin and BFGoodrich brand replacement market commercial truck tyres, as well as Michelin Retread Technologies retreads, will increase by up to seven per cent. Increases for Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal plus private and associate brand passenger car and light truck replacement tyres will vary according to product line. Michelin brand replacement market earthmover tyres will be up to four per cent more expensive.
In January Yokohama Rubber intends to increase the export price of its tyres by as up to – and potentially even more than – 15 per cent. Yokohama states these increases apply to all passenger car, light truck, truck and bus, construction and industry tyre products in markets outside of Japan. In terms of specific increases, the company reports in an official statement that “the maximum mark-up is around 15 per cent. But even larger mark-up may be applied to specific regions and products.”
The Maxxis brand’s exclusive UK distributor, independent tyre wholesaler Grouptyre, discussed its plans for 2010 at its annual sales conference in Liverpool on December 9 and 10. On the first day of the conference sales director Paul Hollows took business development managers and sales managers from the 13 member companies through a review of Grouptyre’s achievements in 2009 and announced the programme of sales and marketing initiatives for 2010. The day’s proceedings also included a brand presentation from Maxxis International UK managing director Derek McMartin and a series of interactive working groups.
Changes are afoot within Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s European agricultural tyre business. Last September, the company signed a non-binding letter of intent with Titan International to sell its European agricultural tyre assets, including the Goodyear Dunlop Tires France Amiens North factory. In December Tyres & Accessories discussed this deal with Alessandro Coggi, managing director Farm and Industrial Tires, Goodyear Dunlop Europe.
US Major League Baseball Selects Firestone as First ‘Official Tyre’
The Firestone brand has walloped a home run over the stadium wall with the signing of a multi-year agreement between Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) and Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) on December 18. Through the deal reached between the two parties, Firestone has become the first “Official Tire of Major League Baseball”. The agreement also marks the largest sports sponsorship for the 109-year-old Firestone brand outside of motorsports.
Continental Completes ‘First Step’ of Refinancing Package
Continental AG reports having already successfully completed the first “key steps” of its overall plan to improve its current financing structure and capital structure following the signing of loan agreements on December 19. The German tyre and automotive components supplier states that “important” amendments have been made to the existing loan agreements, allowing for the repayment of the 3.5 billion euro tranche due in August 2010 inter alia by a forward start facility (FSF) while also providing further flexibility. At the same time, the company has received FSF commitments in excess of the requested 2.5 billion euros, which has resulted in an over-subscription of their bank group’s request.
The National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR) has admitted Nokian Tyres’ “Hakkapeliitta” brand name to its ‘List of Trademarks with a Reputation’. So far, 42 trademarks have been admitted to the list. Admission to the list requires substantial evidence of trademark's awareness in Finland, and is used to help avoid trademark disputes.
Continental has entered into an agreement to increase its stake in Continental Automotive Corporation (CAC), the Japanese joint venture it operates with Nisshinbo Holdings Inc., from 51 to 60 per cent in 2010. This increase in shareholding will allow Continental's Chassis & Safety Division to integrate its airbag systems and sensorics business.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries has announced its intention to establish two joint venture companies in Thailand, together with Thai Eastern Group. One of these joint venture companies will centre on a natural rubber plantation, while the other on the setting up of a natural rubber processing plant.
Titan International’s December 13 offering of US$75 million aggregate principal amount Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes, due 2017, has been increased to $150 million aggregate principal amount. The offer’s terms and conditions remain as previously announced.
Titan says it intends to use the proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including financing potential future acquisitions and repayment of existing debt obligations.
MITL Acquisition Corp., comprised of former GPX International Tire officials and private investors, identified itself as the winning bidder for the solid tyre business sold out of bankruptcy by GPX. The new company will operate as Maine Industrial Tire, and will be led by Bryan Ganz, CEO; Troy Kline, president and COO; and Phil Fitzgerald, director of China operations.
Pirelli Tyres has awarded its global advertising efforts to Young & Rubicam, returning to the international agency after a 10-year absence. Y&R said its WPP Group in Milan will handle the day-to-day business. Y&R won the bid over five other agencies, including incumbent Wieden+Kennedy in Amsterdam.
Titan to Offer Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes
Titan International has reported its intention to offer US$75 million aggregate principal amount of its Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes, due 2017, in a private offering. The company says it intends to use the proceeds from the offering for “general corporate purposes”, including financing potential future acquisitions and repayment of existing debt obligations.
India’s Ruia Group, parent company of Dunlop India and Falcon Tyres, has acquired a 60 per cent controlling stake in Germany’s Henniges Automotive Grefrath GmbH, a supplier of automotive sealing systems to numerous vehicle manufacturers, including Daimler, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. The cost of the acquisition, made through a Special Purpose Vehicle on behalf of Ruia, has not been disclosed. A further 15 per cent share in the acquired company now rests in the hands of Henniges director Juregen Hein, while administrator Wolf Von Der Fecht owning the remaining 25 per cent stake. Ruia Group chairman Pawan K Ruia told Dow Jones Newswires that the group has a call option to buy back the shares held by Fecht and Hein.
Yokohama Rubber has announced its participation in the Dubai International Motor Show 2009, which will run from December 15, Tuesday, through December 20, Sunday. A key product on display at the show will be Yokohama’s new “Advan dB”, which will be launched in Asian markets in July. The company says it will also exhibit “as reference products” a number of its latest offerings that have not been released in the Middle East market. A new corporate visual theme – "Samurai" – will also be unveiled for overseas markets during the show.