GPX International Tire Corporation CEO Craig Steinke has announced the company’s entry into a “definitive sale agreement for its Solid Tire business and Starbright manufacturing facility in China”. Steinke states “an investor group will partner with members of the management team to purchase the operations and underlying assets of the Solid Tire business.” The transaction will include the MITL, ITL and Brawler brands, as well as the Gorham, Maine; Red Lion, Pennsylvania; and Hebei, China manufacturing facilities.
In the third quarter of 2009 Lanxess AG reports delivering a “strong operating performance”, with EBITDA pre exceptionals of 143 million euros. The specialty chemicals company had expected third quarter operating earnings in the vicinity of the 112 million euros earned in the second quarter. EBITDA pre exceptionals were down 26 per cent year-on-year but rose 28 per cent from the second quarter due to an improved macroeconomic environment worldwide, driven by China, as well as savings yielded by the company’s “Challenge09-12” package of measures, which are expected to cut Lanxess’s costs worldwide by about 360 million euros by 2012. Another key performance metric – EBITDA pre exceptionals margin – was 10.4 per cent; higher than the previous quarter and nearly reaching last year’s level.
Former Continental AG CEO Manfred Wennemer’s tenure as one of five Opel Trust board members ended on November 7 following his resignation in protest against political interference over the planned sale of vehicle manufacturer Opel. According to Reuters, while Wennemer’s act of protest against the “constant interference” from German politicians in potentially embarrassing to Berlin, his resignation is however “essentially symbolic” following General Motor’s recent change of mind regarding its European subsidiary.
Solideal USA has acquired SPW Industries Inc. SPW is an Atlanta-based service provider and distributor of construction and industrial tyres, wheels and rubber tracks. Solideal said SPW’s 13 locations throughout the Southeast will compliment its own service network.
TRIB – that’s the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau for those of you playing at home – has announced the addition of three new international members. Commenting on their joining, TRIB managing director Harvey Brodsky, said “TRIB continues to add members as more and more companies in the new tyre and retread industries throughout the world realise that TRIB is the only international retread industry association representing new tyre manufacturers, retreaders, suppliers to the retread industry and tyre repair companies.”
To liven up the journey along the road to next year’s football world cup, sponsor Continental AG has launched a new contest on its www.contisoccerworld.co.uk football website. The ‘ContiFanContest’, which can be tackled in any of four languages, is a video contest in which six of eight tasks on offer must be completed. The main prize for all qualifying participants is one of 11 sets of three day all-inclusive trips for two to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, including flights, hotel accommodation, a safari and tickets for a match in Johannesburg. The ContiFanContest will close on 04 December 2009, the date on which the groups will be drawn in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Thailand-based Vee Rubber launched three new tyres at the SEMA Show: Vitron, an all-season high performance tyre; Winter Season III, a studdable snow tyre; and Taiga Ice Axe, a studdable light truck snow tyre. The new lines are part of the company’s growing presence in North America. Sold through regional wholesalers and large tyre dealerships – those with 20-plus locations – Vee estimates it will sell six times as many tyres as in 2008, said Patrick Hyland, the company’s sales and marketing manager.
October new car registration shot up 32 per cent in October to 168,942. According to figures released today the increase is the best gain so far in 2009. Private purchase shot up between September and October, prompting the SMMT to report that the latest numbers are the result of the fourth month of sustained growth coming from the Scrappage Incentive Scheme (SIS).
Looking at the figures broken down by brand, it is clear that Vauxhall and Ford remain outright market leaders. However, there is continued progress amongst the once smaller Korean brands. To put this into perspective, in October Hyundai (7179 registrations) out-sold Fiat (6570) and Kia (5633) sold more cars than Honda (4490).
Falken Tire has launched a new slogan it says ‘personifies’ its mission – We get you going. This phrase, explains Falken in a press release, holds multiple meanings and purposes for the tyre maker: “Over the years, the company has made every effort to capture the essence of a valued product in a highly competitive market. Falken has consistently taken a leaps-forward approach in how it designs, produces, markets and sells its tyres. From the sophisticated tread and carcass designs, engineered in Japan, to the most important facet of sales: Customer Service.
Yokohama Rubber has reported a year-on-year 21.3 per cent drop in sales during the first half of the financial year. Upon announcing sales in the six months to September 30, 2009 amounting to 202.1 billion yen (£1.4 billion), the company noted that demand in its principal markets – Japan, North America and Europe – had weakened. Slackening demand also undermined sales volume in Yokohama’s Multiple Business (diversified products) Group, which posted sales declines in high-pressure hoses, in conveyor belts, in sealants, and in aircraft products.
Citing lower raw material costs, continued manufacturing improvements and a better utilisation of capacity as the key driving factors, Cooper Tire & Rubber has reported a US$41 million net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, a $102 million improvement over the same period last year. The company’s net sales for the period were $803 million, a year-on-year increase of $9 million, while operating profit was $71 million for the quarter, a $118 million improvement from the corresponding months in 2008.
A partnership initiated between Continental Tire North America and Hoosier Racing Tire carries the hope of taking the convergence of the high performance street tyre and racing tyre industries a “significant step forward.” On October 30 the two companies announced their intention to invest “substantially” into a strategic alliance involving marketing, business and research and development. Specifically, the two companies have assembled a “team of industry veterans” who now become the driving force behind the collaborative marketing, product development and implementation process.
Toyo Tire & Rubber has made a number of revisions to the consolidated performance forecasts for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010 (April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009) that it released on May 11, 2009. Predicted net sales have been bumped down 7.4 per cent, or 10.4 billion yen (£69.7 million) to 129.6 billion yen (£868.3 million). Despite this reduction in sales, however, operating loss is expected to decrease from 2.8 billion yen to 1.3 billion yen (£8.7 million). Ordinary loss will also diminish, from 4.1 billion yen to 1.3 billion yen. Net loss also decreases from 4.2 billion yen to 2.0 billion yen (£13.4 million).
Just a day after GPX International Tire Corporation (GPX) filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Israel-based Alliance Tire Group announced it has signed an agreement to purchase certain assets for a reported $38.3 million. According to Alliance, the deal includes: “GPX’s US operations, customer relationships, warehouse footprint, worldwide rights to the Galaxy and Primex brands, the company’s medium radial truck tyre distribution business and the Company’s South African entity, GPX Tyre South Africa (Pty.).”
According to GPX the purpose of entering chapter 11 was “to separate the company’s operations into three distinct businesses in order to facilitate the sales of those businesses in transactions, which will allow 95 per cent of the company’s current North American workforce to remain employed.” Crucially, the statement points out that “the company will wind down its European operations.” GPX also explained that it has buyers lined to purchase various parts of the business.
Michelin reports its decline in unit sales during the third quarter of 2009 and over the first nine months of the year is “in line with the decline in global tyre markets.” During the most recent quarter the manufacturer recorded a 14.0 per cent drop in unit sales, a figure that shows a lift in sales compared to the preceding months: in the first nine months of the year unit sales were 20.1 per cent down. The French tyre major generated net sales of 3.754 billion euros in the July to September quarter, a 10.9 per cent decrease on the corresponding three months in 2008. During the nine months to September 30, 2009 net sales amounted to 10.888 billion euros, a year-on-year decline of 12.5 per cent. Deutsche Bank analysts comment that third quarter sales were “slightly better than expected”; sales also beat the expected average of 3.727 billion euros gleaned from and a Reuters survey of six analysts. While volumes were as bad as Deutsche Bank’s analysts anticipated, Michelin’s four per cent price-mix for the quarter was a pleasant surprise. Price mix during the nine months was 7.6 per cent.