Michelin’s Stoke on Trent facility is to halt production for 15 days between February and April, resulting in employees working nine less shifts within this time period. Employees will be required to work five of these shifts at a later date, and will receive 50 per cent pay for the remaining four cancelled shifts. The dates for the shutdown of the company’s Remix truck tyre lines are reported to be February 21 to March 2 and between April 9 and 15.
B&J Rocket has developed a new online shop. As of November 2008 selected articles from B&J’s wide range will be available to everyone via www.bj-rocket.com. These include items for tyre repair, carbide tools as well as products for tyre shops and service stations.
With Chinese input Prices on the Up Could there be a Retread Renaissance?
Raw material price increases affect every part of the tyre production and distribution chain. At the moment all the new tyre manufacturers (from the largest to the smallest) are feeling the raw materials pinch, which has been reflected in a run of less profitable financial reports. Even the Chinese manufacturers that were able to offer the “economic option” for so long are being forced to restructure their prices. Prior to this the low price of new Chinese made truck and bus radials had been hindering sales of quality retreads, so now that the price differential appears to swinging back against the Far Eastern budget producers, will this provide the opportunity for a resurgence in retread sales?
Take Qingdao, Shandong province-based Aufine Group Co Ltd. In August Tyres & Accessories received notification that the company was bringing in a second “unfortunate” price increase in three months, brought on by the “not small” (23 per cent) increase in Aufine’s natural rubber costs. The fact that the Chinese government clamped down on production in regions adjacent to Qingdao during the last quarter has also affected the distribution of these products. Furthermore, in addition to pressures mentioned above, the supply of Chinese tyres is also described as “inconsistent” since the pound’s value has fallen against the Euro. As a result Chinese manufacturers are increasingly ‘cherry-picking’ sales in the most lucrative international markets.
More than any other company in the world it is Michelin that – at an early stage – began to produce retreaded truck tyres as part of its industrial operations, and has always understood retreading as an integral part of its new tyre business and incorporated it into all its industrial and marketing activities. The French corporation not only operates its Remix mould-cure production and cooperates with its pre-cure retreading partners across Europe; in the area of retreading Michelin is building on yet another cornerstone - the Laurent group, with its two production sites in Avallon, France, and Berlin, Germany. It is in particular the latter, the smaller location in terms of output, that plays a pivotal role in the ever-important Western and central Europe markets.
Bridgestone Bulldog Held 7.5% UK Retread Market Share in 2007
Bridgestone first started working with Bulldog remoulds as its preferred retreading partner in the 1990’s Everything changed in April 2005 when Bridgestone bought the Bourne, Lincolnshire-based retreader, bringing with it plans to more than double the site’s previous annual output and radically overhaul the operation. Tyres & Accessories gained an exclusive insight into what has happened at Bulldog during a recent visit to Bridgestone UK’s newly updated retread production headquarters.
Michelin’s Stoke Site Aims to be Cutting Edge Facility
At the end of last year Michelin executives embarked on a three-phase study into modernising the company’s Campbell road, Stoke-on-Trent retread manufacturing site. The plan is to take the UK’s largest commercial vehicle retread production plant to the next level with multi-million pound investment from Michelin headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand and other parties. Tyres & Accessories visited the Campbell road Remix and Encore facilities in mid-February and saw that the site spent £1 million last year gearing for the proposed improvements.
It was back in the early days of 2002 when Gary Oliver and Peter Morris formed the company called C-Tyres and purchased the assets of retreaders Colway and Motorway from the Official Receiver. Since then, the demise of car tyre retreading in the UK has been well documented and, it has to be said, one or two quizzical eyebrows were raised when Oliver and Morris announced that C-Tyres would be making retreads.
At the end of January the Colway brand and equipment owned by County Durham-based C-Tyres was bought by Polish retread company, Mark Gum. No details of how much Mark Gum paid were made available. C-Tyres managing director Gary Oliver had previously spoken of his hope that a British company would take ownership of the assets, allowing tyre production to start up again from within C-Tyres leased premises in Langley Moor.
Whichever way you look at it 2005 was a significant year for Sapphire Energy Recovery. Not only the did the company successfully dispose of more than 100,000 tonnes of tyres, but it markedly increased industry awareness thanks to a high-profile (putting it mildly) advertising campaign. But neither achievement has gone unnoticed as the 2006 TAFF award nominations (see page 38) recognise the company on both counts. Furthermore Sapphire expects to process its 50 millionth tyre in the coming months, something that is particularly impressive when you consider that the company was only founded in 2000.
Chinese Retreading Market Presents World of Opportunity
While much has been made about the enormous potential of the emerging Chinese tyre market, the opportunities go further than this alone. For every tyre that is produced and used in the People’s Republic there is a potential money-making opportunity for the retreading and collection aspects of the tyre business.
It is not overstating the situation to say there is huge potential for retreading in China. Currently around 265 million tyres are produced in China each year, across all segments. At the same time the domestic market’s 3 million vehicles currently demand 130 million tyres annually, according to a Hong Kong Trade Development Council report.
Bridgestone UK Ltd has acquired Bulldog Remoulds (Holdings) Ltd, the companies have announced in a joint statement. The deal is said to have been the subject of discussion for “some time.” Both parties agreed that the pricetag attached to the purchase would remain “commercially confidential.”
The purchase took effect on 29 April and will not affect existing trading arrangements with Bulldog customers and suppliers, the companies have confirmed. Bridgestone says the acquisition will strengthen its long-term capability to look after and expand its Truck Fleet customers within the UK.