Turkish tyre manufacturer Brisa has confirmed that approval has been given for the TL272 million (£113.5 million) investment specified in the company’s 2009-2014 Mid-term Business Plan, and planned for in its Investment Incentive Certificate for the years of 2010-2014. While Brisa international marketing manager Aylin Erdil states that specific details cannot be legally disclosed at this time, she commented that the investment “covers the modernisation and expansion of the factory.”
Lassa was established in 1974 by the Sabanci Group, of one Turkey’s leading industrial conglomerates. In 1988 it significantly increased its capacity and product by becoming joint venture partners with the Bridgestone Corporation. This partnership forms the award-winning BRISA Corporation, enabling the Lassa brand to be supported by enormous resources and investment which, facilitates the production of a quality range of Lassa brand tyres.
Now one of Europe’s largest tyre producers, its integrated plant in Kentsa, Turkey covers over two million square metres and is equipped with state-of-the-art design and production technology and a revolutionary dedicated research and development centre. Customers are offered tyre products of superior quality sustained by outstanding service. BRISA supply Lassa tyres in over 50 countries worldwide through distributors who are specially selected for their location, logistics and experience. An extensive range of passenger tyres, high performance and winter ranges are manufactured, along with 4×4, rally, van and light truck, OTR and agricultural tyres.
Turkish manufacturer Brisa achieved net sales of 772,203,901 Turkish liras (£306.1 million) in the year ended December 31, 2008. This result disclosed in the company’s audited statement of income, represents a 2.9 per cent increase on the previous year. Operating income, at 48,709,571 liras (£19.3 million), was down 26.1 per cent on the 2007 financial year, and although profits of 31,795,956 (£12.6 million) liras were 49.1 per cent lower than the previous year, Brisa remained in the black during the year. The company’s domestic sales came to 610,590,748 liras (£242.0 million), a rise of 5.8 per cent. Exports declined 1.2 per cent during the year to 247,181,348 liras (£98.0 million).
RH Claydon is promoting a new marketing programme to participating Lassa passenger, 4×4 and van tyre retail dealers and service providers. Lassa tyres are produced by Brisa, a joint venture between Bridgestone and the Turkish Sabanci Corporation. According to a press release issued by RH Claydon, the company’s “collection for all seasons” includes Lassa Impetus Revo, Impetus Sport, Impetus 2, Atracta and Miratta tyres in passenger car, not to mention van units, transway and LC/R and more. In addition the programme purports too offer “extremely meaningful…incentive rewards within” to the participating dealers.
Production is one more underway at the Brisa/Bridgestone and Pirelli factories in Turkey. Both companies halted the manufacture of tyres late in February to realign output with demand, and resumed operations on March 3.
Production at the two companies’ factories restarted with the midnight shift on March 3, said labour union representative Hüseyin Çakar. Over the past week 2,200 workers, 1,072 at Brisa Bridgestone and the remainder at Turk Pirelli Tire Corporation, were placed on paid leave.
Two of the largest tyre manufacturing plants in Turkey paused production for a week following reduced OE demand. The Brisa (Bridgestone/Sabanci) plant which produces Lassa branded tyres initiated a week-long production break in order to “realign production” company representatives told Tyres & Accessories. Turkish Pirelli Tyres Corporation also halted production at its factory in the north-western province of Kocaeli, according to the Hurriyet newspaper. Around 2,200 workers are employed at the two plants, 1,072 of which work for Brisa and will remain on the pay roll, Turkish Tyre-Labor Union representative Huseyin Cakar told Hurriyet.
Brisa has announced to the stock exchange that it will suspend production in Turkey for a week starting tomorrow (5 February, 2009) following a slowdown in domestic and foreign demand. The company is a joint venture between Sabanci Holding and Bridgestone.
Turkey’s Dogan News Agency has reported on around 1,000 Brisa employees barricading themselves inside the company’s tyre manufacturing facility in Izmit. The factory occupation and an associated halt in production is said to have taken place to protest the unexpected announcement of more than 30 job cuts.
Brisa announced on December 18 that it had terminated contracts of 32 workers at the plant due to falling sales figures and lower product demand. Executives of the employees’ union are said to have joined the protest.
On the evening of November 7 Turkish tyre manufacturer Brisa commemorated its 20th anniversary. The company was established through a partnership between Sabanci Holding and Bridgestone in 1988, and senior management from both firms were in attendance at the Four Season Hotel in Istanbul to mark the occasion with a gala dinner.
The Sabanci Holding and Brisa management team, along with Bridgestone Corporation executives hosted a wide range of guest, including representatives from the business world, Brisa’s business partners, company employees and members of the press. Ms Güler Sabanci, chairman of Sabanci Holding, Mr. Shoshi Arakawa, Bridgestone president and CEO and Mr. Bülent Savaş, president of Brisa, shared the history of their partnership and the various successes the 20 years together have yielded.
Bridgestone affiliate company Brisa Bridgestone Sabanci Lastik Sanayi & Ticaret A.S., which manufactures tyres in Turkey, may construct a new plant in Egypt to avoid high Turkish labour costs. The average worker at a tyre facility in Turkey costs the company about US$50,000 to employ, therefore competing with rivals in regions such as Eastern Europe is difficult.
“Egypt is one of the alternatives we’ve been looking and working on it all the time,” commented Guler Sabanci, chairwoman of Haci Omer Sabanci Holding A.S., joint venture partner with Bridgestone in the Brisa operation. According to Ms Sabanci’s office, an Egyptian worker is at least $5,000 cheaper per annum to employ.
A two week tyre strike by 4,000 members of International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) Turkish affiliate Lastik-İş ended on 13 June, and workers from three tyre manufacturers resumed work the following day. The strike ended when a two-year accord was reached between the union and three global companies, Goodyear, Bridgestone and Pirelli, who jointly represented the tyre industry in talks.
The negotiations on 13 June were the first since the strike began on 31 May. Talks first began on a 2008-2009 labour agreement, covering four tyre factories, in September 2007. The two parties agreed to a 14 per cent pay increase for 2008, and an increase equalling the Turkish rate of inflation for 2009. In 2007, the Turkish rate of inflation was 8.39 per cent and is expected to rise above that this year. Lastik-İş had sought a 12 per cent wage rise for the first six months of 2008, with increases matching the inflation rate in each six-month period through 2009.
The ongoing Tyre Workers Union strike is threatening Turkey’s automotive industry. Estimates are placing a figure in the region of YTL 10 million (over £4 million) on daily losses for tyre manufacturers since the strike began on 31 May, while the supply losses are starting to hinder Turkish automotive exports that account for 75 per cent of the industry’s total production.
Bridgestone’s Turkish-based arm, Brisa – one of the companies affected by the strike, alongside Pirelli and Goodyear – has released statements detailing the losses to the Turkish government in taxes, estimated at YTL 1 million a day.
Lassa Tyres has appointed Vicki Tillson as its new UK Sales Manager. Based from her home in South Yorkshire, Vicki will cover the entire Lassa UK distributor network. One of the key objectives for Vicki and Lassa in 2008 will be to assess the current UK distributor channel and to ensure the most appropriate partners are appointed to represent the Lassa brand. Tillson previously worked with well-known wholesaler operations Stapleton’s and Micheldever.
Martin West, Lassa International Director of Marketing and Business Development, commented – “We are delighted to welcome Vicki to the team. She is well regarded within the tyre industry and we look forward to her leading the development of the Lassa brand within the UK distributor and wholesale market.”
On 1 May 2007, Levent Akpulat was appointed as international sales director, responsible for the Lassa brands’ international sales. According to the company, executives at the London office and sales coordinators in Istanbul will report directly to the new international sales director.
Levent Akpulat joined Brisa in 1992 and up until the beginning of 2006 he held a range of marketing, marketing research, business development, marketing and communications positions. Shortly before being transferred to the international sales department he was also responsible for the communication of both the Bridgestone and Lassa brands in the domestic Turkish market. Speaking to Tyres & Accessories, Akpulat stated that his range of communications and marketing experience means he will be at an advantage when it comes to promoting the Lassa brand.