Bridgestone Europe has released the latest edition of its environmental report. The document, titled ‘Environmental Commitment and Performance’, updates the 2009 version and adds content on the upcoming European tyre labelling legislation, Bridgestone’s new eco-oriented Ecopia tyre range and the company’s environment-related activities in the community.
Continental AG says automobile production in Europe and the US will remain stagnant next year, which is why it is stepping up expansion in Asia. The tyre and auto part maker said growth in emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia is important to its continued success.
A desire to provide customers with a more efficient and professional service is the given reason behind Bridgestone Europe’s decision to restructure its organisation. A series of changes have been planned and Bridgestone is already working at introducing these; the company aims to have the restructured organisation fully operational by January 1, 2011. Significant changes to be implemented include the division of responsibility for sales functions into six geographical regions, each with its own regional headquarters that will operate under the overall control of Bridgestone’s European headquarters in Brussels. A reorganisation will also be undertaken at the Brussels headquarters; Bridgestone says this should result in better operational support being given to the regional sales companies in specialised areas.
Michelin Becomes 50th Driving for Better Business ‘Champion’
Michelin has become the 50th ‘business champion’ to join government-backed Driving for Better Business campaign. In doing so, the company has committed to help promote at-work driving safety initiatives to other public and private sector fleets. The tyre maker’s involvement with the campaign comes after reducing its road crash rate by more than 50 per cent in the last five years and adopting a target of zero incidents. Michelin says improving safety has helped reduce accident damage costs by 46%. It has also seen significant savings on indirect costs, such as vehicle hire and driver time.
In the past year Watts Tyre Group has attained the new ISO 9001:2008 standard and renewed its Approved Supplier status from Toyota Industrial Equipment SA, and now the UK based industrial tyre and wheel producer reports it has again passed the ongoing assessment for ISO 14001:2004 and its Environmental Management system. In announcing this latest achievement, company CEO Jean-Paul Mindermann commented “our quality accreditations are very important to us as a business and we are delighted that we continue to keep our standards high. As a key supplier to the world’s leading materials handling manufacturers it is vital for us to ensure that the quality of our products and processes is world class.
Bridgestone Corporation has announced a number of senior personnel changes, scheduled to take effect October 1. Yoshiyuki Morimoto has been appointed vice president and officer of Tire Research and Material Development plus assistant to the vice president and officer, Office of Group CEO Technology Relations. Akihiro Eto will become vice president and officer, chief financial officer of Finance and chief information officer of IT & Network; Eto will concurrently serve as director Corporate Planning Division, Internal Control Division, Advanced Business Development Division; he will also take on the role of general manager Paper Business Planning and Sales Department. Yutaka Yamaguchi is to become vice president and officer Tire Products Development. At the end of October Akihiro Eto will shed some of his responsibility, and will serve as vice president and officer, chief financial officer of Finance and chief information officer of IT & Network plus director Corporate Planning Division and Internal Control Division.
Following the signing of a definitive agreement, Eurotire Inc. has become a global distributor for the PressurePro range of TPMS products produced by Advantage PressurePro. According to Advantage PressurePro, distribution of its TPMS product line is a “natural extension of Eurotire’s focus on providing their mining customers with the OTR tyre service and support tools they need to maximise tyre productivity.” The US headquartered company lists facilities in every continent amongst its worldwide operations.
On September 1 the management and staff of Kumho Tire Inc., along with important customers and partners, celebrated the company’s fiftieth anniversary at its headquarters in Seoul and its parent facility in Gwangju. “We look back with pride over the past fifty years and the successful development of Kumho Tires and based upon this look positively towards the future and the and the successful accomplishment of the next fifty years,” Kumho Tires CEO stated Kim Jong-Ho during the celebrations at the Gwangju facility. He thanked all employees for their loyalty to Kumho Tires during both good and bad times.
Continental AG reports it has further improved its debt maturity profile through the placement of a euro-denominated bond with an aggregate principal amount of one billion euros. The seven year notes are to be issued by Conti-Gummi Finance B.V. and guaranteed by Continental Aktiengesellschaft and certain subsidiaries. The coupon will be 7.5 per cent per annum interest, payable semi-annually in arrears.
Bridgestone Announces Cross-Segment European Price Increase
Bridgestone has announced that it will raise the prices by between 3 and 6 per cent of its consumer, commercial and speciality tyres in Europe during October 2010. Bridgestone Europe CEO and president Makio Ohashi said that “historically high” raw materials prices had necessitated the hike, while “further increases will be necessary in the coming year”.
As in almost all industries, the calamity of the credit crunch has had a huge impact on the truck tyre market, reducing demand for products, and forcing manufacturers and traders to regroup. As a result of the economic crisis commercial vehicle businesses were forced to become savvier, demanding more from their tyres. Others simply went under. So with the remaining customers demanding improved performance, mileage and fuel consumption from their tyres while simultaneously being under economic pressure themselves, what affect has this scenario had on the size and development of the market? And what does this mean for truck tyre pricing both in the UK and across Europe?
On August 19 it was announced that the Iowa Economic Development Board, an Iowa state government agency, has awarded CGS Tires US $924,000 from its Grow Iowa Values Fund. This amount, the board reports, will be used to support 154 of the 192 jobs to be created when the Czech Republic’s first factory in North America is built. The total project cost is $43.8 million and involves reconfiguring the former Winnebago Industries manufacturing facility in Charles City for the production of radial agricultural tyres, amongst other products.
Russian business daily Vedomosti reports that Sibur Holding and Nizhnekamskshina, a Tatneft petrochemical subsidiary, intend to merge their tyre assets to create an entity holding two-thirds of the market share in Russia. While Sibur Russian Tyres general director Vadim Gurinov was quoted as saying no decision has yet been made regarding such a merger, the news that the two companies are in talks was confirmed by a Tatneft official.
Accuride Corporation has negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement with the unions representing 215 workers at the company’s aluminium wheel manufacturing facility in the US state of Pennsylvania. The existing agreement representatives with the International Union, United Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America was set to expire at midnight September 3, 2010. The new agreement for the Erie plant is effective September 4, 2010, through September 3, 2014.
Goodyear Prices Additional $100 Million of 8.25% Senior Notes
Goodyear Tire & Rubber has announced it has priced its offering of an additional US$100 million aggregate principal amount of its 8.25 per cent senior notes due August 15, 2020. The notes will be senior unsecured obligations of the company. The notes will be sold at 100.75 per cent of the principal amount. Goodyear expects the offering to close on August 25, 2010, subject to customary closing conditions.