Within the coming 12 months, Bridgestone Corporation will close its steel cord facility in Kuroiso, Japan and consolidate production into its remaining Japanese steel cord plant, Saga. The company says these measures will commence immediately and it expects to complete them by late September 2014.
While it sounds too dramatic to talk about seismic activity in the tyre market, the ongoing long-term effects of the various financial crises are continuing to be felt. At a continental level this has meant continued queries about how the largest tyre makers can better balance supply and demand in Europe. However it is also difficult to say how much of this conjecture is actually manifesting into any kind of practical reality. Indeed, at times like these people can get over-creative in their analyses, along with any legitimate market observations. That said, and without wanting to sound like a seventies pop song, it is as if we can feel the slow undulations of the terra firma under our feet.
Despite an illustrious history dating back to 1917, 30 May could mark the end of an era for Dunlop as officials confirmed that its motorsports tyre manufacturing operation will have to find a new home away from the historic Fort Dunlop site from 2014 if their new landlord doesn't lease it back to them again. According to the landlord, Canmoor, the site has been sold to neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover. Therefore it looks likely that Dunlop Aircraft Tyres (a completely separate company from Goodyear Dunlop) will be the only tyre manufacturing operation remaining in Birmingham after the end of the current lease. Dunlop's annual motorsport tyre output is currently believed to be around 200,000 units. 180 manufacturing staff are employed there along with roughly 120 tyre testing, sales and marketing personnel.
BFGoodrich is going ahead with the expansion of its Tuscaloosa, Alabama facility despite a temporary shutdown the company attributes to numerous factors. A temporary raw material supply shortage in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav is named as the main culprit for the two week factory closure, however market factors are also to blame, reports BFGoodrich public relations director Lynn Mann.
Notification of the planned closure of a US Firestone factory producing automotive and industrial air springs was given to union representatives in June 27. The Firestone Industrial Products Company (FSIP) delivered a “Notice of Potential Plant Closure” for its Noblesville, Indiana facility to representatives of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW). In the notice, the company stated that the air springs market is increasingly global, making it difficult for FSIP to compete. Although no final decision has been made, the company advised the USW of the possible closure of the facility due to the losses being incurred at the Noblesville plant.
On March 21 Michelin invited prospective investors to submit expressions of interest in its soon to be closed factory in Nigeria. The company released a notice stating that the company “wishes to invite expressions of interest for the purchase of all or part of the Michelin factory in Port Harcourt,” and specified that applicants could be either local or international businesses capable of demonstrating a proven track record in project development, strong financial capabilities and technical expertise in their field.
The closing date for bids is March 30, and Michelin has said that suitable applicants will be invited to attend a detailed presentation of the factory and related assets.
Michelin has given more details of their decision to quit tyre production in Nigeria. At a press briefing the Corporate Affairs manager for Michelin Nigeria Limited, Ojo-Osagie, passed on details of the factors contributing to the decision and the measures the company plans to undertake in the coming months.
Michelin has announced that it is ceasing tyre production at its factory in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The tyremaker informed the Nigerian government of its decision on January 16 and, according to Michelin, both parties have agreed to work together to find a buyer.
The last shift at Dunlop’s Washington UK plant clocked off ahead of schedule on 14 June. The Early April announcement that Dunlop would close the plant came as a “body blow,” to workers, the Sunderland Echo reported, as it followed a similar announcement at nearby Stag Furniture. Dunlop said it is continuing to work alongside Sunderland Council and One North East to help the workers find new employment through the JobCentre.
At a press conference, Bridgestone President Shigeo Watanabe revealed that the company was to close its plant at Decatur, Illinois, where 1,500 people are employed. The plant closure will lead to a loss of $210 million, offset to some extent by cost savings of $100 million. Bridgestone will also incur an additional special loss this year, amounting to $549.6 million and the group has revised its worldwide consolidated net profit forecast from 48 billion Yen to 10 billion. For Bridgestone Japan, the company is predicting a net loss of 130 billion Yen for the calendar year 2001, the first loss for the group since it was first listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1961. Bridgestone’s shares fell nearly 2 per cent on the news, to stand at 1,273 Yen.