A presence in Europe part of Blackcircles’ growth plan
In addition to announcing a 30 per cent rise in sales last year, Blackcircles.com appears set to expand across the Channel in the near future. Company founder and managing director Mike Welch states the online retailer aims to grow market share both in the UK and internationally and claims that Blackcircles.com is now in talks with parties in Central Europe; if all goes to plan, an announcement regarding a partnership or acquisition will be made before the end of this year.
You can’t keep a good tyre man down. That’s what Manly Council in Australia is coming to terms with half a year after its order to remove a much loved local icon was carried out. The ‘tyre man’, a dummy who sat atop a tyre-ringed pole in the Sydney beachside suburb for more than 80 years, was taken down last August after his deteriorating condition was judged a hazard to passing pedestrians. But instead of disappearing forever, tyre man is back – and he’s off on holidays before resuming his vigil over Manly.
Apollo Tyres South Africa intends to reintroduce the Dunlop tyre brand into Nigeria. The country’s Guardian newspaper reports Apollo Tyres South Africa CEO Riaz Haffejee as saying the brand will return due to its long history in Nigeria. Distribution will be handled by Somotex Nigeria Limited; Haffejee commented that Somotex has the requisite distribution channels for the job.
Croatia has been cleared to join the European Union (EU) as earlier as July, according to online news reports including BBC News.
However, the process is not yet complete. It won’t be until all 27 member states have ratified the agreement that it can go ahead. That said 19 member states have reportedly signed off on the Balkan state's EU accession. But it was not without criticism. A commission monitoring report is quoted by theparliament.com as saying the country needs to take further steps to tackle organised crime and corruption. Nevertheless Deutsche Welle cited an EU report as saying: "The commission concludes that Croatia will be ready to join the EU on 1 July 2013.”
Sales of heavy good vehicle trailers fell 6.3 per cent across Western Europe in 2012. Meanwhile heavy truck demand fell by more than 9 per cent, according to market analysts from the Clear agency, which pointed out that the figures were in line with its expectations. The fall was almost universal – only Norway and Denmark experienced increased trailer demand. The worst performing markets were Italy, Portugal and Spain, which saw falls of between 20 and 40 per cent.
Michelin franchises to more than double within 5 years
At present, Michelin operates around 2,000 franchised dealer points of sale around the world; according to information published in the tyre maker’s 2012 annual results presentation, the exact figure is 2013. Yet within a few short years, this number should this number should increase by around 150 per cent. Michelin says it intends to have 5,000 franchised dealer points of sale by 2017.
India’s Ceat Ltd will start manufacturing tyres in Bangladesh as of next year through a joint venture operation with Bangladesh-based business conglomerate AK Khan & Co Ltd. The tyre maker will hold a 70 per cent share in the new company, Ceat AK Khan Bangladesh Ltd, with AK Khan & Co. possessing the remainder. Ceat AK Khan Bangladesh will produce cross-ply truck, light commercial vehicle and motorcycle tyres for the domestic market. The joint venture has been set up with an initial investment of US$67 million and will have a 110 tonne per day capacity when production commences. Around 1,000 people are expected to be employed in the new company.
The sword of Damocles has hung over Goodyear’s production site in Amiens, France for years now. Most recently, in 2009 the American tyre maker openly discussed plans to end the production of passenger car tyres in Amiens-Nord; the site suffered from “uncompetitive costs,” the company said. Two years ago Goodyear attempted to emulate the deal it made in Latin America and sell the Amiens plant’s agricultural tyre production to Titan International. But all plans for the Titan-Goodyear deal collapsed at the end of 2011. Titan chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor pulled the ripcord and withdrew from Europe, visibly frustrated by the union representatives in Amiens.
Michelin dominates Dakar following three-year commitment
Michelin has begun its three-year commitment to the Dakar Rally as it means to go on, with its tyres fitted to victors in the Bike, Truck and – on the tyre manufacturer’s comeback to the category for the first time since its 2001 victory – Cars. The French tyre giant brought its Latitude C tyres for the Car class, the Bib Mousse-equipped Desert Race for Motorbikes, and the XZL for Trucks, showing the strength and versatility required for competitors to tackle the frequently punishing conditions encountered.
Voith Industrial Services has strengthened its position in the UK automotive industry by acquiring ThyssenKrupp Services Ltd. According to the company, the acquisition will create a combined business with a workforce of over 2,000 employees at 35 locations. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Stellana, Inc., a moulded polyurethane wheel manufacturer recently introduced its Optima line of polyurethane tyres for the material handling industry, which apparently differ from press-on bands. “Standard press-on tyres come with costly trip charges, press-on charges, and downtime expenses. The Optima Tire System eliminates these costs: simply bolt the tyre onto your lift truck and you are up and running again,” said Stellana’s sales and marketing manager, Michael Scoon.
Thailand, currently the world’s largest rubber producer with an output of 3 million tonnes/year, is seeking to attract investment from international tyre producers in an effort to promote its domestic market and simultaneously contain its rubber export volume. Deputy Agriculture Minister Yutthapong Charasathian invited tyre makers to come and construction manufacturing plants in the South East Asian country, saying the Thai government has already sounded out “leading tyre manufacturers in the US, China and Japan” to expand tyre manufacturing operations in the country.
Mesnac establishes global sales and service network
China’s Qingdao Mesnac Co., Ltd, the company said to be the world’s second largest supplier of tyre and rubber manufacturing equipment, has set up a new global sales and service network. Mesnac says rapid growth in China, Asia and internationally since the firm’s founding in 2000 made the establishment of the new Mesnac Global Sales and Marketing Company (SMC) necessary. Zheng Jiangjia, executive vice-president of Mesnac, has been appointed president of the new operation; Zheng will lead five regional sales and marketing teams, which will be located in China, Southeast Asia, India, Europe and North/Latin America.
Norgesdekk AS has bought P. Holth AS in a move that sees the company expand to five locations. The business already has operations in Bergen, Jaeren Kristiansand and Tonsberg, Norway. According to the company, the expansion takes effect on 1 January 2013.