At an investor meeting on 20 September, Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced the return of shareholder dividends after an absence of 11 years. The company’s new capital allocation plan calls for the reinstatement of a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock and a $100 million share repurchase programme.
Incentives to draw in prospective customers are familiar practice for most tyre dealers, but free onions with every car or truck tyre sold? One tyre seller in India has introduced such an offer, but he has more in mind than just selling more tyres.
Following publication of news that Toyo Tire & Rubber may be looking to increase production in the US, a representative from the Japanese tyre maker contacted Tyres & Accessories to clarify the information presented in our text from 10 July.
The Department for Transport (DfT) hgas announced plans to merge the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) into a single agency. According to the announcement, these services will be delivered by the two agencies under a single chief executive and transitional board from July this year.
The loss-making years are finally behind Kumho Tire. The Korean company has reported a net profit of KRW 123.67 billion (£71.9 million) for full-year 2012 – the best result since 2006 and a marked contrast from 2009, when the company posted a KRW 794.50 billion loss. Kumho Tire entered into a debt work out programme on 30 December 2009 as a result of financial difficulties faced by parent company Kumho Asiana.
Leeds City Council fitted GT Radial’s Champiro WinterPro cold weather tyres to its Community Meals fleet this winter on the recommendation of its tyre partner, Earthmover Tyres. Thanks to the addition of seasonal rubber, the Council said its 16 Citroen Berlingos delivered more than 420 meals safely every day across the city, regardless of the inclement weather.
Goodyear India Ltd. has reported a 2012 fiscal year net profit of Rs 563.2 million (£6.9 million), 12.8 per cent lower than the previous year’s result. Net sales for January to December 2012 amounted to Rs 14,812.9 million (£181.5 million), down 2.2 per cent year-on-year, while profit from operations before other income, finance costs and exceptional items was Rs 711.7 million (£8.8 million), a year-on-year decrease of 23.2 per cent.
December figures for new commercial vehicle registrations show that Europeans just aren’t buying at the moment. According to information supplied by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, registrations of light commercial vehicles within the European Union dropped 24.3 per cent year-on-year during the month to 103,254 units, while registrations of commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes decreased 22.8 per cent to 19,309 units and heavy trucks (16 tonnes and over) fared little better, decreasing 21.7 per cent year-on-year during the month to 14,267 units. Only bus and coach (over 3.5 tonnes) registrations provided respite from this downward trend, increasing 11.9 per cent year-on-year to 3,262 units in December.
Releasing its figures on commercial vehicle registrations for December, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders described 2012 as "a tough year", during which the market dropped by -5.9 per cent to 285,343 units.
At its board of directors meeting on 27 December, Yokohama Rubber approved a number of changes in responsibility for senior management. These changes entered effect on 1 January. Kinya Kawakami, Yokohama’s director and managing corporate officer, has taken over from Toshiyuki Nishida as general manager of the company’s Hiratsuka factory. In other change that took effect 1 January, Sinichi Suzuki, who is president of the company’s Yokohama R.P.Z. L.L.C. tyre plant in Russia, is no longer general manager of the Russia Tire Plant division.
Using the latest accounts available from Companies House, the Herald Scotland reports that Kwik-Fit (GB) recorded a £17.2 million operating loss in the 15-month accounting period to 31 March 2012. The newspaper notes that this loss “reflects significant stock write-offs, delapidation charges and exceptional costs,” while Kwik-Fit directors claim business was only down 2.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis when considering the extended accounting period. Turnover during the 15 months was £639.5 million.
US trade body Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has reported that tyre shipments remained unchanged in 2012 at 284 million units, as an increase in OE shipments offset a decrease in replacement shipments. Furthermore, the association predicted a 2 per cent rebound in tyre demand during the course of 2013.
With the aim of further improving its financing structure and maturity profile, while enhancing its flexibility, Continental has refinanced its syndicated loan, which is due in April 2014. Within the scope of the planned refinancing, the loan volume is to be reduced slightly – to a total of 4.5 billion euros – and split up into two tranches with different maturities: a 1.5 billion euro term loan with a term of three years, and a five-year revolving 3 billion euro credit facility. Conti also intends to “ease the documentation complexity” through this refinancing.
The Indo-Asia News Service reports that sluggish market conditions have prompted India’s Birla Tyres to temporarily stop operations at its Orissa state factory. The plant will remain closed until 31 December, an anonymous senior plant official told IANS. He added that Birla has stocks of almost 100,000 tyres that it is unable to sell. The company has reportedly stopped production for at least one week in every month since May due to low demand.
The statutory negotiations Nokian Tyres commenced in early November wound up on 17 December and the tyre maker has announced the cuts it will implement at its plant in Nokia, Finland. Antti-Jussi Tähtinen, vice-president of marketing and communications for Nokian, reports the planned improvements in productivity and production adjustments will be mainly achieved via temporary lay-offs. In addition, 28 production workers and officials will be laid off permanently.