Despite it being Valentine’s day, there was no love lost between Auto Windscreens and the HMRC on 14 February 2011. That’s the day the UK's second largest windscreen repair company went into administration, threatening 1,100 jobs, apparently owing money to the good old Inland Revenue.
During the most recent quarter turnover at Apollo Tyres increased by just 3.2 per cent to Rs 23.68 billion (£319.39 million), and this modest growth in turnover in the three months to December 31, 2010 is in line with growth throughout the first nine months of the current financial year. During the nine months to the end of last year the company achieved net sales of Rs 61.38 billion (£827.89 million), a year-on year growth of 2.7 per cent. The strongest performer in Apollo Tyres’ global operations proved to be the Netherlands based former Vredestein unit, whose turnover grew 11.7 per cent to Rs 6.49 billion (£87.54 million) in the third quarter and 13.1 per cent to Rs 16.11 billion (£217.29 million) in the nine months to December 31, 2010. Apollo Tyres’ net profit for the third quarter decreased 36.8 per cent to Rs 1.2 billion (£16.19 million) while it decreased 35.9 per cent to Rs 2.5 billion (£33.72 million) in the first months of the year.
Energy management system certification for Bridgestone TCE
In December 2010 Bridgestone Europe have achieved the distinction of being the first tyre maker to gain EN 16001 certification for one of its facilities. The EN 16001 standard, currently held by fewer than 100 companies in Europe, was obtain by the Bridgestone Technical Center Europe (TCE) and certifies that the centre has successfully implemented an energy management system and developed and implemented an energy policy. To achieve this, Bridgestone says the TCE identified all areas of significant energy consumption, targeting energy savings, while also introducing projects to produce energy from renewable sources. These activities are now fully integrated within the centre’s daily working procedures.
Preparations for Michel Rollier’s eventual departure from Michelin are to commence after the Group managing general partner expressed his intention not to complete his term of office. According to Michelin bylaws this would occur when Rollier turns 72, however in agreement with the company’s Supervisory Board the 67-year old intends to recommend shareholders elect Jean-Dominique Senard –one of the company’s two non-general managing partners elected in May 2007 – to replace him as managing general partner. Shareholders are expected to vote on this at the Extraordinary Meeting scheduled for May 13, 2011. At this meeting shareholders will also be invited to approve resolutions to adjust the Group’s corporate governance procedures, Michelin notes.
Kramer praises loss-making Goodyear for ‘improvement across all businesses’
Although Goodyear Tire & Rubber recorded a net loss for the third consecutive year, company chairman and CEO Richard J. Kramer states he’s “very pleased” with the tyre maker’s fourth quarter and full year 2010 performance. “Our operating results reflect significant recovery, with improvement across all of our businesses versus last year despite escalating raw material costs,” Kramer commented.
Hankook UK focuses on brand, ups TV advertising budget 50%
After nine years of at the helm of Hankook Tyres UK Ltd, years that have seen the company grow from the position of a newcomer into a force to be reckoned, Richard Page has announced his retirement from the role of managing director. Tyres & Accessories understands that he will continue in a consultative role throughout what has been a pre-planned and progressive changeover into the capable hands of new MD Gang Seung Lee. In a recent visit to the Hankook UK headquarters T&A met with Mr Lee, who is commonly known as Tony Lee in the UK, and a freshly reshuffled management team to find about more about what’s in store for South Korean tyre manufacturer in 2011.
WIthin its full year 2010 results report, released February 10, Goodyear Tire & Rubber discloses plans to close its tyre making facility in Union City, Tennessee by the end of this year. A stated reason for proceeding with closure plans is the desire to “reduce high-cost manufacturing capacity globally” as per Goodyear strategy. The Union City plant currently employs approximately 1,900 people.
Nokian Tyres presented with “opportunity to increase sales” in 2011 – Gran
A jaunty nautical appraisal of this year’s outlook greeted shareholders upon the release of Nokian Tyres’ 2010 financial statements. The man at the helm, president and CEO Kim Gran, stated that “a clear improvement in the drivers for demand in core business brought Nokian Tyres back to a strong growth track. The sails are now bulging with strong tailwind as we go into 2011 with thick order books and growing capacity.”
Renewed Bridgestone contract “of great importance” to DHL’s tyre segment growth plans
Bridgestone Europe has renewed its Swedish market supply contract with DHL Supply Chain. The Jönköping based firm has handled Bridgestone Europe’s warehouse operations for the Swedish market since 1997 and the extended contract, valid until 2013, includes warehousing and a number of value-added services such as the studding of winter tyres.
Yokohama sales growth ‘more than compensates’ rising material costs
Sales for Yokohama Rubber’s tyre operations increase 13.7 per cent in the first nine months of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, the company reports. During the nine months to December 31, 2010 Yokohama recorded tyre business sales of 310.2 billion yen (₤2.36 billion) and operating income of 23.2 billion yen (₤176.42 million), up 37.4 per cent year on year. The company reports this sales growth came through gains both in its domestic Japanese and international markets and it more than offset the adverse effect on profitability caused by rising raw material prices as a strengthening yen. Domestic market sales were helped by an economic rebound and heavy snows, which prompted strong winter tyre sales, while overseas growth was most notable in the US and China.
The Indonesia Stock Exchange reports that tyre maker PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk has been added to its LQ45 list as of February 2011. The list recognises 45 companies that have fulfilled a number of criteria, including highest market capitalisation within the last 12 months and highest transaction value in a regular market during the same timeframe. The company’s market growth has also been witnessed in its 2010 financials; for the first time, Indonesia’s largest tyre manufacturer exceeded US$1 billion in net sales.
Yokohama Philippines capacity to increase 143% by 2017
Capacity at Yokohama’s production site in the Philippines is to increase from seven million to ten million passenger car tyres per annum as a result of expansion work being carried out there in the next three years. This first phase expansion at the Yokohama Tire Philippines site involves the construction of a new tyre plant to complement the existing 165,000 square metre facility. Construction work will get underway after a tenancy agreement is signed in February and initial production is expected to commence in 2013, with full operational capacity reached the following year. A total of 20 billion yen (₤153.2 million) is being invested in the first-phase expansion; a further 30 billion yen is earmarked for the second-phase expansion work, which will further increase Yokohama Tire Philippines’ annual capacity to 17 million tyres by 2017.
While most of the western world celebrated New Year at the end of December, both China and South Korea were making plans for their celebrations at the start of February, based on the lunar calendar. Back in 2010 Nexen Tire Corporation announced plans for a 1 trillion won (US$1.2 billion) investment in its largest factory yet in Changneyeong in the same region as its first plant (Yangsan), which along with the company's second plant in Qingdao, China, continues to expand. Just before the oriental entrance into the new decade, Tyres & Accessories had the opportunity to visit Nexen on its home South Korean and adopted Chinese territory and saw how the company is implementing its plans to become a US$2.5 billion company in the next five years.
Singapore based holding company Wealth Sea Pte Ltd has made an offer to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Dunlop India. The aim of this offer, which closes on February 7, is to acquire 1,43,96,575 shares in the company. Although Dunlop India is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange it is controlled to a large extent by the Ruia Group; through the Ruia floated Wealth Sea the group intends to increase its ownership share.
On January 31, India’s Aditya Birla Group disclosed it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based Columbian Chemicals Company from One Equity Partners, the merchant banking arm of J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. Aditya Birla has purchased One Equity Partners’ equity in Columbian Chemicals through its associates Alexandria Carbon Black Company and Thai Carbon Black Company Limited, along with SKI Investment, an Aditya Birla Group company.