One way or another 2020 has been an eventful year for all of us. The same is true at Apollo Tyres where, at a global level, the company has had to navigate pandemic-related production pauses and restarts along with new factory openings and the decision to enter the two-wheel segment. At the same time as continuing to develop the Apollo brand, the company has also given the Vredestein brand a big push during the last month or so. First, with the launch of a new all-season range, then with the introduction of a new North American tyre line-up and – in order to support both – a pitch-side advertising partnership with Manchester United football club. Tyres & Accessories recently interviewed Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, Apollo Tyres Ltd in order to find out more.
Apollo Tyres had to accept a drop in its turnover and earnings in the half-year to 30 September 2020, with the notable exception of sales in Europe. The company’s global sales in the first half of its current April 2020 to March 2021 financial year were Rs 70.62 billion (£728.85 million), 13.9 per cent less than the sales it gained a year earlier. Net profit dropped 71.1 per cent year-on-year to Rs 650 million (£6.71 million).
As Tyres & Accessories annual global social media ranking enters its seventh edition, this year there is a new winner. Last year’s champion, Pirelli, has fallen two places to third position. At the same time, Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ Falken brand rose an impressive eight positions to take the top spot. And Pirelli wasn’t the only well-known name to downshift, with two other brands taking retrograde steps. At the same time, in a reflection of what has taken place in the UK-only ranking, the top 10 has a new entry, with previously 10th-ranked MRF being overtaken by another large Indian tyremaker.
Continuing its long association with Manchester United, Apollo Tyres recently extended ‘Official Global Tyre Partner’ status with a parallel association with the company’s Vredestein tyre brand. The move is part of a wider growth strategy for the Vredestein brand across the Europe and North American markets.
Apollo Tyres has appointed Hizmy Hassen to the newly-created position of Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Hassen will be based at the company’s London office, and will be responsible for leading the strategy and operations of Apollo Tyres’ digital journey, including responsibility for Information Technology. Hizmy Hassen will report to Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, Apollo Tyres Ltd.
Dutch tyre brand Vredestein, part of the Apollo Tyres family since 2009, is a name well-known amongst European motorists. This isn’t the case in the USA and Canada, where Vredestein’s only enjoyed a niche following in past years. Apollo Tyres now intends to change this – in September it launched a “comprehensive brand offensive” there backed by a full range of new tyre lines explicitly designed for and developed in North America.
Apollo Tyres is aiming for leadership in the premium two-wheeler segment in India with the inauguration of a dedicated two-wheel cross-ply and tyre manufacturing operation. India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world, and still has a headroom for further growth. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand has increased as people move away from shared/public transport and gradually moving to own a personal vehicle. However, while India is at the forefront for Apollo’s venture into the two-wheel segment, the company is also hinting that it plans to export two-wheel tyres to Europe and North America.
Apollo Tyres has commissioned its seventh tyre factory globally and its fifth in India, with the first tyre rolling off the production line from the Andhra Pradesh greenfield facility in the southern part of the country on 25 June. Chairman, Onkar S Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, Neeraj Kanwar, supervisory board members along with the entire senior management team participated virtually in this momentous occasion.
Production at Apollo Tyres’ factory in Hungary will partially recommence tomorrow, a month after the tyre maker scaled back production there and in its Enschede plant in the Netherlands in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Warburg Pincus is now a shareholder in Apollo Tyres Ltd. During a meeting yesterday, the tyre maker’s Committee of Directors – Private Placement allocated Emerald Sage Investment Ltd., an affiliate of the private equity firm, 54,000,000 compulsorily convertible preference shares. Emerald Sage paid a total of Rs s. 5,400,000,000 (£57.56 million) for the shares in this first tranche transaction, or Rs 100 each.
Following a slight easing of the lockdown regulations in India, Apollo Tyres reports it “partially resumed” tyre production yesterday at its Perambra plant in Kerala state. Apollo’s other plants in India remain closed for the time being.
At a meeting held on Friday, Apollo Tyres Ltd.’s Board of Directors approved the issue of Rs 10 billion (£105 million) worth of non-convertible debentures (NCBs) via a private placement. The NCBs will be issued in one or more tranches according to the limits approved by shareholders at the tyre maker’s Annual General Meeting on 31 July 2019.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Warburg Pincus’ indirect acquisition of a 9.93 per cent stake in Apollo Tyres Limited. The purchase of 108,000,000 compulsorily convertible preference shares in the tyre maker, each share worth Rs 100, is being carried out by Emerald Sage Investment Limited. This transaction is worth approximately Rs 10.8 billion (£114 million).