Goodyear has released details of the group’s performance in various markets, for the year to date, to end February. Brief details are as follows:North American Tire: February industry shipments of consumer replacement tyres were 8 per cent up on last year. Goodyear shipments to dealers were flat, as some dealers pre-bought at the end of last year. Goodyear shipped 400,000 tyres as part of the Ford replacement programme. Industry shipments of commercial tyres were 14 per cent up on last year’s levels. Goodyear’s shipments were up, but not as high as the industry figure. Industry shipments of OE tyres were up 10 per cent for car tyres and down 17 per cent for commercial tyres. Goodyear’s unit shipments outperformed the industry.European Union: Consumer replacement tyres: industry shipments + 3 p.c. Goodyear shipments lower. Commercial replacement tyres: industry shipments – 6 p.c. Goodyear shipments reflect this figure. Consumer OE tyres: both industry and Goodyear shipments up. Commercial OE tyres: both industry and Goodyear shipments down.Eastern Europe: No segmentation available, but Goodyear replacement tyre sales were up, due mainly to market recoveries in South Africa and Turkey. Goodyear OE tyre sales were down slightly.Latin America: Goodyear replacement tyre sales down, mainly in Brazil and Argentina. OE sales were up. Currencies in Brazil and Mexico were revalued, but this was offset by devaluations in Argentina and Venezuela.Asia: Replacement tyre sales were up from last year, while OE unit sales were slightly down. Improved volumes in China and India helped improve operating margins over last year.
Dr. Paolo Masera (60), who was MD for Pirelli in the UK for a short time and MD for Pirelli in Germany twice; the second time for only a few months, went to Brazil early in 2001. He now is back in Italy again to take over another leading position in Milan.
Marangoni S.p.A. has started production of precured tread rubber at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in response to Brazil’s growing demand for retreads. The purpose designed, 14,000-sq.-ft. plant cost Marangoni around 13 million Euro to build and equip. Initial employment will be 60, but this should rise to 140 over time, Marangoni said. The company expects the new venture to generate sales of 6.1million Euro in the first full year of operation, rising up to 25.6 million Euro within four years.
Watts Industrial Tyres (WIT), the UK market leader for industrial tyres, has signed a joint venture agreement with its Brazilian distributor to manufacture and distribute Watts brand solid tyres in Brazil. The company is ‘Souza Pinto Industria e Comercio de Artefatos de Borracha Ltda.’ and production begins this month at a new factory near Sao Paolo.
After only one year, Dr. Paolo Masera (59), boss of Pirelli Germany, has left the company to take over responsibility for Pirelli in Brazil. His successor is Dr. Klaus Betka, up till now production chief. Betka should only be regarded as a short-term solution for two or three years, as it is said that he has already signed a contract for early retirement.
Increased demand in Latin America has prompted Goodyear to resume production of aircraft tyres at its factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Manufacture of these tyres began in 1943 and was stopped in 1992. The biggest customer is Brazilian aeroplane maker Embraer; the fourth largest in the world, and which is currently constructing a new factory in Brazil. 30 per cent of the Sao Paulo aircraft tyres will be for the Brazilian market, with the remaining 70 per cent exported to North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia. Goodyear claims to be the world leader in aircraft tyre manufacturing.
The executive board of Continental has said that it is looking to sell major parts of the ContiTech group in order to reinforce Conti’s core business as a supplier of chassis technology to the auto industry. The revenue generated will enable Conti to make further acquisitions. ContiTech’s sales last year were 1.4 billion Euros and it employs 14,000.
The ContiTech Group of the Hanover-based Continental AG closed 2000 as the most successful business year in its history and, for the first time, each of its business units posted a positive operating result. Compared to 1999, the company increased sales by 4.2 per cent to 1.79 billion Euro. In 2000 ContiTech generated 68 percent of sales with automotive manufacturers and 32 percent with industrial customers in the non-automotive sector. The operating result (EBIT) experienced a disproportionate increase of 6.8 per -cent to 139 million Euro.
The group’s turnover fell from US$ 3.66 bn (1st quarter 2000) to US$ 3.41 bn for Q1 this year. Last year the group achieved earnings before taxes of US$ 80.3 million; this has turned into a loss of US$ 48.2 million. Earnings after tax fell to a loss of US$ 46.7 million. Despite these poor figures, analysts – especially from Deutsche Bank – have confidence in Goodyear, which is based on the hope that the effect of the disastrous Firestone recall will create a big advantage for first brands, and is also based on the assumption that price increases will stick. Last but not least, Goodyear has said that its on-going restructuring programme will lead to further significant cost reductions.
Michelin has announced a fall in net profits, from 535.5 million Euros to 154.4 million Euros for 1999. This is even lower than latest predictions of financial analysts. The figures were affected by the inclusion of a special provision of 370 million Euros, made to cover the entire cost of Michelin’s three-year restructuring plan. However, operating profit for the year rose to 1.23 billion Euros; an increase of almost 15%.
Pirelli’s truck tyre division generated a 1999 turnover of 466 million Euro and an EBIT of approximately 38 million Euro (eight per cent of turnover). For the current year the division has set itself the firm target of breaking the 500-million-euro barrier. The commercial vehicle tyre business accounts for almost 20 p.c. of Pirelli’s tyre turnover, in which the truck tyre factory in Alexandria/Egypt plays a key role. (The group also has commercial vehicle tyre production in Settimo Torinese/Italy, Izmit/Turkey and Santo André/Brazil). The enterprise started in 1990 with a mere 11 p.c. Pirelli participation in the 150 million dollar investment. And even that was not in hard cash but in know-how about building a new truck tyre factory and research and development data for the product. Other investors were local, both private and public finance consortiums. As Egyptian legislation was liberalised, it became possible for the Italians to increase their share to 60 p.c. by capital raising measures and to take the industrial leadership. Only two years after the start of building the first truck tyre was produced at the Alexandria factory. In 1995 the annual capacity was 100,000 truck tyres, today 330,000. In two investment stages capacity is to be increased to 550,000 tyres in the short term and to 800,000 tyres per year by 2003. But the plans do not only involve volume growth; new products are also part of the project, for instance the tubed tyres FG85 and TG85 for on/off application in Africa and the Middle East, introduced on the Truck Tyre Day 2000. The total investment plan is for 140 million Euro. Currently only a third of the truck tyres produced in Alexandria go to export, but in future exports will account for about half the output. Read more in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 5/2000.
Czech tyre manufacturer Mitas is to purchase the motorcycle tyre manufacturing business from Trelleborg. The purchase (the price of which was not revealed) includes the license of the trade mark ‘Trelleborg’ and increases the Mitas motorcycle tyre portfolio by 15 designs in 57 sizes.
Bill Sharp (59) has retired suddenly on July 14th after 36 years of Service for the tyre maker. His successor, John C. Polhemus (56) used to be President of Goodyear’s Latin America region. Marco Molinari, currently Vice President Marketing and Sales North America, becomes Vice President Global Marketing Projects. Jim Vogel, currently Director Corporate Accounts North American Tire, becomes Vice President Marketing and Corporate Accounts for North America.
German company Degussa Hüls is building what it says will be one of the most modern industrial carbon black plants in the world at Paulinia, near Sao Paulo, Brazil. Production will begin in early 2002 and initial annual capacity will be 60,000 tonnes. Degussa Hüls says the new site will strengthen its role as a global partner of the rubber industry.