On April 1 a nine-hour strike held by Kumho Tire workers was called off following a tentative agreement reached between union leaders and Kumho management. This agreement outlined a ten per cent wage reduction for employees at the financially burdened company, plus an additional five per cent pay cut during the time in which Kumho Tire is undergoing a debt rescheduling programme. However the Yonhap News Agency reported on April 9 that this tentative agreement has been rejected by employees.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme has paid Bridgestone Corporation’s headquarters in Tokyo as part of his April 7 to 10 visit to Japan. During the visit, Mr. Leterme met with Shoshi Arakawa, Bridgestone’s chairman of the Board, CEO and president, and several other company executives.
The Western and Eastern Europe region grew in importance for Nokian Tyres throughout 2009. The Finnish tyre maker reports European sales accounted for 24 per cent of its total last year, up eight per cent from 2008. This percentage growth in sales occurred largely at the expense of those in Russia and the CIS, which last year made up only 20 per cent of Nokian’s total sales, as opposed to 34 per cent in 2008. Overall, the company reported decreased demand for its tyres in 2009, an occurrence it attributes to the financial crisis and lower vehicle sales. In its general overview of 2009, released April 8, 2010, the company confirmed that measures have been taken “to adjust production to reduced demand.”
Toyo Tire & Rubber states its Board of Directors has approved the company’s decision to waive a US$35.8 million inter-company debt owed by Toyo Automotive Parts. By writing-off this debt, Toyo says it seeks to enable this wholly-owned North American automotive parts manufacturing subsidiary to proceed with the restructuring of its business operations.
Bekaert Completes Acquisition of Bridgestone Tyre Cord Plants
On March 31 Bridgestone and Bekaert signed a Closing Memorandum confirming Bekaert’s acquisition of Bridgestone’s Bridgestone Metalpha Italia S.p.A., based in Sardinia, and Guangdong Province based Bridgestone (Huizhou) Steel Cord Co., LTD. steel cord manufacturing subsidiaries, a transaction first announced on February 1. According to Bekaert, its integration of the two plants and the long-term supply agreement arranged with Bridgestone come into effect immediately.
Bridgestone Establishes Vietnam Tyre Sales Company
Bridgestone Corporation subsidiary Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (BSAP) has established a new tyre sales company for the Vietnamese market. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, the new company is named Bridgestone Tire Sales Vietnam Limited Liability Company (BSTVN) and is 95 per cent BSAP owned. The remaining five per cent ownership is held by Mitsubishi Corporation. Established with a capital of US$700,000, BSTVN employs 18 staff and is headed up by Tetsuro Chiba.
According to Kevin McPherson, tyre contracts manager at Bandvulc Tyres, “it is easy to forget that in our business it is the point of sale conversations with dealers and suppliers, which if developed, can lead to extra sales.” Bearing this focus in mind and in order to provide a better level of customer service, Bandvulc Tyres recently made changes to the structure of its Telephone Sales department.
Sibur-Russian Tyres reports producing a total of 8.1 million tyres during 2009, including 5.4 million passenger car and light commercial vehicle tyres, 2.4 million commercial vehicle tyres and 300,000 other sorts of tyres (such as aviation and motorcycle tyres). The company plans to increase production by 14 per cent during 2010.
Yokohama Rubber Raises Sales and Earnings Projections
Yokohama Rubber has raised its projections for consolidated net sales and earnings in the fiscal year to March 31, 2010. The company now projects a net income of 9.4 billion yen (£69.2 million), compared with a net loss of 5.7 billion yen in the previous fiscal year. It projects that operating income will rise 49.9 per cent to 19.2 billion yen (£141.3 million), and that net sales will decline 9.1 per cent, to 470.0 billion yen (£3.5 billion). The projection for net income is 34.3 per cent higher than the projection announced on October 30, 2009; the projection for operating income is 12.9 per cent higher; and the projection for net sales is 1.1 per cent higher.
UK Brokerage Chosen for Spain, Portugal Tyre Warranties
UK insurance broker Garratts has landed a 700,000 euro contract to arrange tyre warranties for car dealers in Spain and Portugal. The Preston based broker was appointed by Spanish broker Sanz & Domecq to provide an annual warranty policy covering 411 workshops and 180 garages across the two countries.
Stamford Tyres has released unaudited results for the third quarter of its 2010 financial year – a quarter that, unusually, spans the period between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2010. The company attained a total revenue of S$81.73 (£) during the quarter, and increase of 29.21 per cent on the same period a year earlier. Net profit amounted to S$2.37 million (£), compared with a profit of only $102,000 during the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
Full year net profits of 905.33 billion rupiah (£64.67 million) have been reported by PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk. The Indonesian tyre maker reports it “managed to overcome a difficult first half of 2009” to post full-year sales of 7,936 billion rupiah (£566.86 million), only slightly down from the 7,963 billion achieved in 2008. Overall sales volumes were down in 2008, the company says, primarily due to volume decreases in export markets. The reported net profit, however, represents a marked contrast to a net loss of 624.79 billion (£44.63 million) a year earlier. Gajah Tunggal claims “strong operational performance was the main driver” of this turn around from loss to profit, although a large translational foreign exchange gain related to the company’s US dollar denominated bonds also contributed to the gain in net income. Furthermore, Gajah Tunggal’s associated company, PT Polychem Indonesia Tbk., added 16 billion rupiah (£1.14 million) to earnings from a loss of 76 billion rupiah the year before.
A cooperation between Vredestein and car manufacturer Arden has been signed by Apollo Vredestein CEO Rob Oudshoorn and Arden’s Jochen Arden. Through the agreement, Vredestein reports it has now found a partner in Arden for modified vehicles from the premium Jaguar, Bentley and Range Rover and Mini brands.
US based industrial tyre manufacturer Denman Tire Corporation has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Ohio, reports Tire Review. This action ends an almost two-year struggle to stay afloat in the face of a brutal economy and heavy pressure from imported tyres.
Titan International’s Board of Directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of US$0.05 per common share for the first quarter of 2010. The cash dividend is payable April 15, 2010, to stockholders of record on March 31, 2010.