State-owned China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) said in its first Sustanability Report that scientific development will be the main focus of its next five-year plan (2012-2017). During 2006-2011, ChemChina put more than 12 billion yuan ($1900 million) into technology research, an annual increase of 14.5 percent. The company owns seven subsidiaries, including Aeolus Tyres, Guilin Rubber, Yiyang Rubber and the Xinghuo Organic Silicon Co, that are national technology centres.
It is certainly not the only development to take place within Bond International during 2011, but the wholesaler's recent launch of Tyregiant.com is likely to be the most headline-grabbing. Over the years various sources representing all the UK's largest tyre wholesalers have spoken of their capability of offering an online retailing capability, but up till now few – if any – have ventured onto the information superhighway. The solitary pioneering effort in this area was Grouptyre's GoodTyreGuide, which ambitiously seeks to fuse retailing, reviewing and wholesaling through its membership of whole operations. A year on from that, with the jury still out on whether this concept has delivered the kind of results expected at launch, Tyregiant is pitching itself as a straightforward retail site for consumers. The clever part for Bond (a company that has always shied away from retailing itself so as not to alienate its business to business customers) is that, like GoodTyreGuide before it, it is seeking to offer additional business to its customer base rather than itself becoming a competitor.
Bankruptcy, legal action – all in a week’s work at ShengdaTech
De-listed Chinese firm ShengdaTech has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. In announcing this action, the nano-precipitated calcium carbonate manufacturer says the Chapter 11 process will “facilitate the company's financial and operational restructuring, with the objective of restoring the company to financial health.” Under Chapter 11, ShengdaTech is permitted to continue trading and managing its assets as usual. Also announced on 22 August was the appointment of Michael Kang, a managing director at global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, as Shengdatech’s chief restructuring officer. In this capacity Kang will “lead the company’s restructuring effort.”
MIRA test centre named ‘enterprise zone' in government announcement
The MIRA test centre, which is home to tyre and vehicle research facilities belonging to the likes of Dunlop and GiTi, has become an official “enterprise zone” as part of a government announcement. Ministers said 30,000 new jobs would be created by 2015 at the 21 locations spread out across the country of which MIRA is just one. The idea is that by giving cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control, business aren’t hindered in their growth.
The Bosch Group’s Automotive Aftermarket division is set to acquire the Unipoint Group and its affiliated Unipoint and NSA brands for an undisclosed sum. An agreement confirming the deal between Bosch and the Unipoint Group, which produces starters, alternators, temperature control parts and wiper blades for the aftermarket, was signed on August 9.
Material costs, muted growth a bottom line dampener for Apollo
Reporting its performance during the first quarter of India’s financial year, Apollo Tyres says net sales during the period were “robust”, increasing 55 per cent year-on-year to Rs 28.22 billion (£382.60 million). Despite this, factors such as all-time high natural rubber prices and “sluggish” growth in some markets dampened the company’s profitability in the three months between April 1 and June 30, 2011. Operating profit rose 20 per cent to Rs 2.42 billion (£32.81 million) while net profit was up 3.9 per cent in the quarter to Rs 771.28 million (£10.46 million).
For the six months to June 30, 2011, Bridgestone Corporation reports net sales of 1,459,125 million yen (£11.7 billion), 1.4 per cent lower than the sales projection announced on May 13 and 5.3 per cent higher than net sales for the first half of 2010. Operating income during the first half of this year was 93,629 million yen (£751.0 million), 30.0 per cent higher than projected, and ordinary income amounted to 91,880 million yen (£737.0 million), 43.6 higher than the projected figure. Net income for the six months to June 30, 2011 was 54,115 million yen (£434.1 million), a 54.6 per cent increase on the May 13 projection and up 21.6 per cent year-on-year.
Hankook Tyres recently sponsored The Royal International Horse Show, one of the biggest outdoor shows in the UK, in a move to reach out to a new audience. The Royal International Horse Show, which took place at its venue at Hickstead, attracting more than 15,000 visitors. The event ran over 6 days (26 – 31 July) and was televised on Sky Sports. Spectators were given the opportunity to see a wide variety of show jumping, eventing, dressage and showing competitions from the world’s elite horses and riders.
Reuters reports that, in a move to alleviate the euro zone crisis Italy faces, Pirelli & C. SpA has signed a newspaper petition offering to buy government bonds. The tyre maker is said to be one of 24 Italian companies that added their names to a petition instigated by the business daily Milano Finanza.
Hankook has announced plans to add sponsorship deals with football teams in the UK, France and Sweden to its 2011/2012 marketing strategy. Amongst other things, Hankook will now embark on an advertising campaign utilising hoardings at football stadiums belonging to teams such as Sunderland. This means the tyre firm will be present in the German Bundesliga, the English Premier League, Ligue 1 in France, Serie A in Italy, Primera Division in Spain as well as the Russian Premjer-Liga altogether.
Toyo Tires has announced its plans to build a new tyre plant in Perak, Malaysia. The Japanese manufacturer’s board of directors decided to construct a new facility in order to strengthen Toyo’s production-supply capability for passenger car and light truck tyres mainly in the Asia region. Toyo aims to make sales worth 310 billion yen and operating income at 24 billion yen this year from tyres. The company says it has established a “three-point global production supply structure based on Asia, Japan and North America, in order to achieve a world-wide supply of 45 million tyres in 2015, representing an increase of 55 per cent from 2010 levels.
Turkish tyre producer Lassa Tyres has sealed a partnership agreement with Borussia Mönchengladbach Football Club for the 2011/12 football season. The news follows an earlier contract that saw Lassa agree to partner with Bolton Wanderers in the UK as well as an advertising deal at RCD Espanyol in La Liga for the 2011/12 season. Both were brokered by London-based Samson Sport Consultancy.
In order to fund other expansion programmes, YHI International Limited has sold its share in two joint-ventures it operated in China. In a disclosure made to the Singapore Exchange, YHI reports that on July 29 it entered into two agreements with Yokohama Rubber (China) Co. Ltd to sell Yokohama China its ten per cent stake in Hang Zhou Yokohama Tire Co Ltd and its 49 per cent share in Yokohama Tire Sales (Shanghai) Co. Ltd; the transaction will give Yokohama China 100 per cent equity in both joint venture operations. The stakes in Hang Zhou Yokohama and Yokohama Shanghai have been purchased for S$14,336,052 (£7.28 million) and S$7,999,944 (£4.06 million) respectively.
Analysts highlight ‘difference in momentum’ between Continental and Michelin results
Despite the fact that both Continental and Michelin reports second quarter/first half pre-tax profits (EBIT) broadly in line with expectations, financial analysts have highlighted the “difference in momentum” between the two firms’ results. According to Morgan Stanley, the intraday spread between the two stocks was 600 basis points when the results were announced on Friday 29 July.
“Although we think Michelin can surprise positively in the second half, in the shorter term Conti should outperform thanks to improving momentum in consensus earnings,” Morgan Stanley’s Edoardo Spina commented, explaining the differential.
Goodyear Q2 results 'another step on the path towards 2013 targets'
Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, says he is “very pleased” with the tyre maker’s “outstanding second quarter results.” Goodyear’s figures for the three months to the end of June, which were released on July 28, show a 24 per cent increase in sales to US$5.6 billion, despite a two per cent decline in unit sales. The results, Kramer added, “represent another step on the path toward our 2013 targets. They present confirmation that our strategies are right and that they are working.”