A number of revisions to Bridgestone Corporation’s consolidated financial projections for 2009 have been announced. Changes to the figures released on November 5, 2009 have been based upon recent performance trends and the company’s assessment of the global economy during the year. After reviewing these two factors, on February 12 Bridgestone announced a revised projected operating income of 75,000 million yen (₤533.9 million), 15,000 million yen higher than its November 5 figure. Ordinary income has been upwardly revised from 29,000 million yen to 54,000 million yen (₤384.5 million) and net income has been revised from a loss of 10,000 million yen to a profit of 1,000 million yen (₤7.1 million). Projected net sales, at 2,590,000 million yen (₤18.4 billion), remain unchanged.
Michelin “More Agile Than Ever” – 2009 Financial Results
Despite recording a net income 70.9 per cent lower than that of the previous year, Michelin managing general partner Michel Rollier appeared satisfied enough with the company’s 2009 financial results to comment that “in an environment shaped by a historic decline in tyre demand, especially in mature economies, Michelin was able to respond quickly and more agilely than ever. Thanks to the dedicated commitment of our teams and tight management, Michelin has delivered robust performance and improved its major financial metrics, the foundations of its future growth.”
During the global recession and financial crisis of 2009, tyre manufacturer Pirelli negotiated the challenges thrown at it better than expected and in doing so proved it is what many companies only claim to be: a storm-proof edifice. With its world-renowned Pirelli premium brand, the Italian tyre business retains its pattern of growth.
Upon the release of his company’s annual figures, Nokian Tyres president and CEO Kim Gran commented that “eventually, after taking decisive action in a tough market, we achieved quite satisfactory results in 2009.” This action, which included cutting investments by 94.7 million euros and wages and salaries by 44.6 million, helped the company achieve an annual net profit of 58.3 million euros, a figure that is, coincidentally, 58.3 per cent lower than the company’s 2008 profit. Net sales for January to December 2009 amounted to 798.5 million euros, 26.1 per cent less than a year earlier. Operating profit was 102.0 million euros compared with 247.0 million for the 2008 financial year.
A three-year deal for the supply of bias tyres will see Taiwan based Mandarin Airlines become the first customer to utilise Dunlop Aircraft tyres’ new distribution and retreading facility in China. Dunlop Taikoo (Jinjiang) Aircraft Tyres Company Limited will supply tyres for the airline’s fleet of eight E-190/195 twin-engine medium range jets.
Yokohama Rubber has reported earning a net income of 9.0 billion yen (₤62.1 million) in the first three quarters of the present fiscal year, the nine months to December 31, 2009. That compares with net income of just 222 million yen in the same period of the previous fiscal year. Underlying the rebound in net income, the company explains, was a 0.1 per cent increase in operating income, to 17.3 billion yen (₤119.5 million). The improvement in profitability occurred despite a 16.2 per cent decline in net sales, to 344.0 billion yen (₤2.4 billion), and reflected a downward trend in raw material prices, reductions in selling and other expenses, and smaller losses on currency translation.
Pirelli Negotiated the Crisis Year Well – Holds Potential for Further Growth
During the global recession and financial crisis of 2009, tyre manufacturer Pirelli negotiated the challenges thrown at it better than expected and in doing so proved it is what many companies only claim to be: a storm-proof edifice. A crucial factor in this was its very solid manufacturing network. In Europe the output from factories in Italy and other West European sites are supplemented by deliveries from Romania and Turkey. North and Latin America are largely supplied with products from Brazil, and in China Pirelli erected a truck tyre plant and subsequently established site a passenger car tyre facility at the same site.
On February 2 Goodyear Tire & Rubber commenced an offer to exchange any and all of its US$650 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.857 per cent notes due in 2011 (“old notes”) for a new series of 8.75% notes due in 2020 (“new notes”). Concurrent with the exchange offer, Goodyear is soliciting consents from the holders of the old notes to amend the terms of the indenture that governs the old notes. The proposed amendments, if adopted, would delete many of the restrictive covenants and certain events of default in the indenture governing the old notes.
In 2009 Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation posted its first loss since 1931. The financial crisis and recession had strongly impacted upon the previously profitable Japanese home market and triggered the company’s implementation of a number of restructuring measures, notably in Oceania, where the closing of its plants in New Zealand and Australia closed the book on new tyre production in both countries. Furthermore, at the end of the current season the tyre major’s 14-year association with Formula One will come to an end. The decisive factor behind this decision was the cost and the exit of Toyota and Honda from the series, yet it can also be said that the company’s goal – increasing the Bridgestone brand’s recognition and profile – has already been reached. In this respect, remaining with Formula One would not deliver very much more and thus cannot be justified in terms of the enormous costs involved. Ecclestone & Co. also may have done nobody a favour when they decided to go with a sole tyre supplier, thereby eliminating any competitiveness from the equation.
According to an announcement made by Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange’s, Michelin is the transferee of the 30 per cent of the shares held in Shanghai Michelin Warrior Tire Co. Ltd. (SMWT) at the price of RMB 170,180,000 (₤15.6 million). A statement released by Michelin notes that “all of the parties agree that the transaction is in their best interests and is beneficial to the sustainable growth of SMWT and Warrior Brand”.
February 1 marks the fifth anniversary of specialty chemicals group Lanxess debuting on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the company reports that some 14,600 employees around the globe will mark the occasion. The first price quoted for Lanxess shares on January 31, 2005 stood at 15.75 euros. Five years later, on February 1, 2010, the opening price was 27.42 euros.
Apollo Tyres’ Onkar S Kanwar has called the company’s performance in the third quarter of the 2009-10 financial year a “remarkable performance”. The company chairman had ample ground for such praise – year-on-year net profit ballooned from Rs 89 million (₤1.2 million) to Rs 1.8 billion (₤24.4 million) on the back of a Rs 22.96 billion (₤311.0 million) net profit, an increase of 108 per cent from the third quarter of the 2008-09 financial year.
Bekaert Acquires Two Bridgestone Steel Cord Plants
On January 31 Bridgestone Corporation entered into a definitive agreement to sell 100 per cent of the shares held in its Italian and Chinese steel cord manufacturing subsidiaries to Belgium’s NV Bekaert SA. The manufacturing subsidiaries to be sold are Bridgestone Metalpha Italia S.p.A. (BMI), based in Sardinia, and Guangdong Province based Bridgestone (Huizhou) Steel Cord Co., LTD. (BSSH). As part of this transaction, Bridgestone has entered into a long-term tyre cord supply agreement with Bekaert to ensure a stable supply of quality cord. Bridgestone and Bekaert will complete the transactions once all applicable governmental and regulatory approvals are received. The transaction has an enterprise value of approximately 70 million euros, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010.
The purchase of a number of assets and sublease of laboratory space from Continental Tire North America has enabled Momentive Performance Materials USA to set up a 2,000 square metre tyre research and development laboratory. The Charlotte, North Carolina site is said to offer state-of-the-art capabilities and will help Momentive provide faster innovation for customers in the tyre and rubber industry while helping the company reduce new product development cycle times. Momentive has also employed five ex-Conti R&D personnel to work at the facility.
Continental AG reports that its capital increase and the 31 million new shares it released have been met with “great interest” by free float shareholders. The company announced on January 26 that free float shareholders purchased 99.4 per cent of the 3,408,130 new shares allotted to them. The remaining new shares for, which subscription rights were not exercised and which were placed already with investors on January 6 and 12 under a reservation of rights being exercised by a bank syndicate headed by Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs International and J.P. Morgan Securities Ltd., will now be issued. The final delivery and settlement will be executed on January 28, 2010. With the capital increase, Continental AG achieved gross proceeds of some €1.114 billion.