Avon Tyres and two-time Isle of Man TT race winner and former British Supersport champion Steve Plater has become brand ambassador for Avon’s motorcycle tyre range. Avon has been working closely with Plater in recent months to enhance the 3D Ultra Xtreme and 3D Ultra Xtreme Slick products. Designed and manufactured in the UK, the 3D Ultra Xtreme and 3D Ultra Xtreme Slick, along with the wet-weather 3D Ultra Xtreme Rain Racer, are high-performance tyres developed with demanding track use in mind. Cooper has previously introduced brand ambassadors for particular product ranges, like Formula 1’s David Coulthard, who represented Cooper UHP tyres.
Ryan Patterson has been appointed as senior vice president, Business Integration of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The role, which Patterson took on in March 2021, means leadership of the integration Cooper Tire, which Goodyear is purchasing.
With the addition of the Cooper Tire business, Goodyear will return to the global number three ranking in passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyre volumes in 2021. After previously holding the clear number three ranking behind the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, Bridgestone and Michelin, Goodyear was joint third with Continental in both 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Goodyear fell behind Continental to fourth position in 2019 and 2020. Working on a pro forma basis combining original equipment and replacement market tyres, Astutus Research data reveals some interesting facts about the nascent conjoined organisation, with reference to their largest tyre business segment in terms of volume.
Goodyear’s $2.5 billion-dollar acquisition of Cooper is the biggest tyre industry news story of 2021 so far (click here for detailed analysis of the deal itself). But takeovers – especially those this big – are seldom easy. A large portion of the motivation behind the acquisition is to bolster Goodyear’s position in the high-value 4×4 and SUV tyre segments. So, with this in mind, what kind of terrain is the deal likely to encounter as the two companies make their way towards integration?
The US government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced another recall of tyres produced by Cooper Tire & Rubber. This recall potentially relates to more than 430,000 4×4 and SUV tyres in the sizes 275/65R18 and 275/55R20.
Continental Tire the Americas is recalling more than 90,000 Continental, General Tire and Barum tyres in North America that have been over-cured and are thus at risk of developing breakages in the sidewall area. A separate recall of approximately 12,000 Cooper and Mastercraft tyres in North America is taking place due to a possible low tread gauge in the tyres’ shoulder slot area which could cause tread separation and sidewall failure.
The day after Goodyear announced that it is buying Cooper Tire for north of $2.5 billion, Fitch Ratings affirmed its Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT) and its Goodyear Europe B.V. (GEBV). Fitch also affirmed its ratings on a number of specific funding lines. Both moves can be interpreted as partially affirming the Goodyear Cooper acquisition’s strategic logic – something that was described as compelling by the senior executives of both companies.
Goodyear’s takeover of Cooper Tire has been positively received by the stock markets, with Cooper’s share price jumping 31.8 per cent from 43.81 before the news was announced to $57.75 two days later. Goodyear‘s share price also swelled, up 28.9 per cent from $13.52 beforehand to $17.43 48 hours after the takeover news was released.
Cooper Tire wasn’t initially looking to sell when Goodyear chief executive Rich Kramer approached the company, Cooper’s president and CEO told journalists in a virtual press conference on 22 February 2021. Rather, Cooper’s management and board were convinced by Goodyear’s “compelling offer” and “strategic logic”. So, what exactly was it that convinced Cooper’s leadership team?
Explaining the rationale behind Goodyear’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of Cooper Tire, executives said the combination offers “compelling strategic and financial benefits”. Specifically, they suggested the transaction “further strengthens Goodyear’s leading position in the US, while significantly growing its position in other North American markets.” With just two home-grown domestic tyremakers in the US (Goodyear and Cooper), that much is clear. However, the benefits of the announced merger are not limited to North America. In China, the combination will almost double Goodyear’s presence. According to Goodyear, it will also increase the Akron, Ohio-based tyremaker’s OE tyre supply position, while creating broader distribution for Cooper replacement tyres through Goodyear’s network of 2,500 branded retail stores.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Cooper Tire & Rubber Company have made “a definitive transaction agreement” that will see Goodyear buy Cooper for roughly $2.5 billion. The combined company will have approximately $17.5 billion in pro forma 2019 sales. Upon closing of the transaction, Goodyear shareholders will own approximately 84 per cent of the combined company, and Cooper shareholders will own approximately 16 per cent.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has named Tyrone Michael (T.J.) Jordan a director of the company, effective 10 January. Announcing Jordan’s appointment, board chairman John J. Holland said: “T.J. is an accomplished and forward-thinking senior executive with significant experience in the automotive industry. We look forward to leveraging his automotive industry and operations leadership experience as Cooper continues to execute its strategic priorities and works to meet consumer demand for high-quality Cooper tyres. We welcome T.J. to the board and look forward to his valuable counsel and insights.”
In the USA, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has issued notification to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it is recalling 1,983 Cooper CS5 Grand Touring and Mastercraft LSR Grand Touring tyres. The affected tyres are 225 55R17 products, with DOT codes 2920 through to 3220.
Michelin and Pirelli are leading the way on tyre and rubber sustainability, according to a recent report from Context Group. Context’s ranking assessed 11 members of the Tire Industry Project (TIP), namely Bridgestone; Continental; Cooper; Goodyear; Hankook; Kumho; Michelin; Pirelli; Sumitomo Rubber; Toyo and Yokohama.
Context analysed the sustainability content on each company’s website to see if it included communications covering some of the main issues associated with the life cycle impacts of tyres, including the four focus areas of the TIP: tyre and road wear particles, sustainable natural rubber, end-of-life tyres and environmental performance. The researchers assessed how well the companies tell their sustainability story by looking at their use of multimedia, news articles and social media.
Cooper Tire Europe has appointed Fintyre as the exclusive distributor of its light vehicle tyres to the Italian market. Under the deal, Cooper will supply passenger car, SUV (sport utility vehicle) and van tires through Fintyre. By joining forces with Fintyre, Cooper will enhance its supply chain in this key European market.