On 19 January 2021, 26 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations about concerns relating to “growing Chinese influence in Serbia and the impending environmental damage resulting from several heavy industrial projects in Serbia by Chinese owned companies”. The group are particularly interested in scrutinising Serbia’s apparently “generous” subsidies and environmental compliance protocols.
Vietnam Rubber Group says it achieved its revenue and profit targets for 2020, reporting profit of VNĐ5 trillion (roughly US$200 million) on sales of VNĐ25.477 trillion ($1 billion), according to the Vietnam News Agency. As a result of these figures, the company reports that its goals include restructuring and increased investment in the rubber sector with possible mergers that would help close the rubber tyre and tube products value chain.
Ferentino Tyre Corporation’s Horana, Sri Lanka tyre factory was officially opened by Sri Lankan president Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 14 January 2021. The facility was constructed with an investment of US$250 million and can reportedly produce 2.4 million tyres annually. Tyres made at the Ferentino factory will cross a number of sectors including radial car, SUV, bicycle and even three-wheelers. These include a “Mythos” product line reminiscent of the Marangoni passenger car tyre range previously produced in the same place (see below). Of the 2.4 million tyres produced annually at the Ferentino factory in this phase, 80 per cent are destined for export markets. A second phase is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
Last September, Bridgestone announced it would close its tyre production facility in Béthune, France during in 2021. The municipal council of Béthune-Bruay now claims the tyre maker didn’t fully honour the commitments it agreed to back in 2007, when the municipality contributed towards a 32-million-euro investment in the plant. It is therefore demanding that Bridgestone returns the subsidies it invested.
Aluminium casting and automotive parts specialist, Citic Dicastal kicked off production at its second aluminium wheel factory in Morocco at the end of December 2020. With a budget of 350 million euros, the Chinese wheelmaker aims to double its capacity in Morocco to 6 million wheels and create a total of 1,250 jobs. According to local news reports, the Dicastal-made wheels are destined for vehicles made by the French OEM PSA Group as well as exports.
Dr Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin, and non-executive vice chairman of InoBat Auto, a European electric vehicle battery producer, is calling on the UK Government to stimulate investment into domestic EV Battery Production.
Despite signing an MoU regarding a similar project in Wales in July, Britishvolt has appointed a construction company (ISG) to build a new gigaplant in Blyth, Northumberland, with construction planned to commence in Summer 2021. The result of £2.6 billion investment, it will begin producing lithium-ion batteries for the automotive and renewable energy industries at the end of 2023. Construction of further phases will continue until the end of 2027.
TVS Srichakra Ltd., the two- and three-wheeler as well as off-highway tyre manufacturer, is planning a 10 billion rupee (£102 million; 112 million euro; US$135 million) investment programme. According to the company, the investment will increase two- and three-wheeler tyre production capacity by 25-30 and double of off-highway tyre capacity from current levels.
Pirelli is constructing a new tyre warehouse to serve its industrial hub at Settimo Torinese in partnership with BGO Logistic Fund 1, which is backed by investment from BentallGreenOak and managed by Kervis SGR SpA, with GSE Italis acting as general contractor. The project will redevelop the industrial area where the Ceat factory once stood near Pirelli’s industrial hub with a view to creating “greater efficiency and environmental benefits”. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
The Springwater Capital financial group has made a binding offer for Fintyre, which is currently controlled by Bain Capital. No details have officially been released, but some Italian news sources are reporting that the Springwater offer includes a capital increase of 50 million euros. The company has been in talks with potential new investors since May.
Following the news that the Japanese tyremaker has received free land as part of the state support package for its Serbia tyre plant, the country’s state aid commission has approved the allocation of 41 million euros ($48.7 million) in government financing to Toyo to support the construction of the new factory in Indjija, northern Serbia.
Shandong Linglong plans to increase the capital of its Linglong International Europe Serbian unit by US$174.1 million (146.6 million euros) for the construction of its tyre factory in Zrenjanin, northern Serbia. When finished the factory will require 1,200 employees and produce 13 million tyres per year.
Askar Mamin, the prime minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, recently hosted the general director of PJSC Tatneft, Nail Maganov, for talks relating the construction of a new tyre factory in Kazakhstan.
Kerr’s Tyre’s & Auto has acquired Belfast-based Roundabout Tyre & Battery Service. Roundabout Tyre & Battery Service have been operating from Belfast’s outer ring for 31 years. No price details have been released.
Synthetic rubber and plastics manufacturer Trinseo has reached definitive agreements with Swiss sustainable tyre recycling specialist Tyre Recycling Solutions (TRS) on a commercial collaboration and an equity investment in TRS. The transaction is expected to close later this quarter, subject to ordinary closing conditions.