In September 2022 Asahi Kasei Europe joined a joint project on blockchain technology relating to ISCC PLUS certification. Led by the Dutch software provider Circularise and the Japanese trading company Marubeni, this project aims at enhancing the efficiency of the certification process and the integrity of the certified data.
Following a successful pilot scheme, Kwik Fit is increasing product availability for customers who want to buy tyres that support sustainable rubber production and help protect the rainforests of Indonesia. The company is now offering three brands of tyre that tick these boxes.
Itochu’s European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) business, which owns Kwik-Fit, Stapleton’s and now Murfitts Industries, posted a loss of 3.6 billion yen (£22.97 million; 27.54 million euros; US$31.55 million) for the financial year ended 31 March 2021. According to Itochu’s annual report, which was published on 17 December 2021, ETEL will return to break-even in full-year 2022 results.
When Kwik-Fit and Stapleton’s owner ETEL announced the recent acquisition of UK tyre recycling specialist Murfitts Industries on 20 December 2021, ETEL’s owner – the Japanese Itochu Group – also shared details of its rationale for the takeover.
Hitachi is selling around half its 51 per cent shareholding in Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd for 200 billion yen (£1.271 billion; 1,524 billion euros; US$1.7 billion) to Kwik-Fit’s owner Itochu and investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, according to reports published by Nikkei on 13 January 2022. Itochu confirmed that it is “considering this matter”, but declined to give further details later the same day in a statement that read:
Japan’s Itochu Corporation announced today the commercial launch of Project TREE, an initiative that uses a blockchain-based traceability system to ensure the sustainability and traceability of natural rubber. Partners participating in the Project include Itochu subsidiaries and tyre manufacturers, and the UK will be the first market to benefit.
On 6 May 2021 Yokohama Europe GmbH, signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of Poland’s ITR CEE Spółka z.o.o., a wholesale distributor engaged in the import and sale of Yokohama tyres in central and eastern Europe. The acquisition is scheduled to be concluded on 14 May 2021, after which the Polish company’s name will be changed to Yokohama CEE Spółka z.o.o.
It is somewhat ironic that the number 2020 has inherent associations with perfect vision and yet this year has turned out to be the most unpredictable in a lifetime. For example, no-one saw President Trump’s twitter-borne sideswipe at Goodyear’s tyres coming last month – how could they? However, on a more serious note, the effects of uncertainty has real-life impact. And this month has seen more than its fair share of such harsh realities in the tyre industry.
This article appears in full in the October edition of Tyres & Accessories magazine. Not yet a subscriber? You can change that here.
The UK’s largest tyre retailer, Kwik Fit, is being prepared for a sale. The Japanese Itochu group, which owns the European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) holding company that controls both Kwik Fit and its wholesale counterpart Stapleton’s Tyre Services, has appointed investment bankers Nomura to advise on strategic options for the company, according to Sky News, with insiders suggesting a sale is very likely.
After years of expansion amongst the top 20 UK tyre retailers, the latest data shows that this trend peaked in 2017/2018 when the top 20 accounted for 2014 branches. The same 20 tyre retailers had 1980 branches between them in 2018/2019. And what’s more, the reorganisation of one retailer alone accounted for a 40-centre decline in branch count, with the overall figure remaining positive due to growth at other chains. Here Tyres & Accessories analyses the branch count data in the context of 10 years of comparable research.