MRF was established in Chennai, India, in 1946 as a general rubber goods manufacturer and gradually progressed into tyre production in 1961.Today, the company enjoys the distinction of being the largest tyre company in the Indian subcontinent and the 13th largest in the world. The Far Eastern Economic Review “Annual Review 200”; rated MRF as one of India’s top ten companies and among the 200 most admired companies in Asia, for the last seven years consecutively.MRF was also rated the No. 1 Ethical Company in India by the Business World magazine. MRF operates six manufacturing plants in India at Tiruvottiyur, Arkonam, Kottayam, Goa, Medak, and Pondicherry and manufactures the largest range of tyres in India´s heavy duty truck/bus tyres, light commercial vehicle tyres, passenger car tyres, off-the-road/industrial tyres, 2-wheeler tyres and farm service tyres. Five of these plants and the conveyor belting factory at Arakonam are ISO 9002 certified. The plant at Pondicherry is QS 9000 certified. MRF Tyres are exported to over 65 countries in the Americas, Africa, Middle East, Australia and Asia.With the focus on exports, the company plans to increase market share and start operations in several new countries. MRF also manufactures conveyor belts and precure tread rubber, and its subsidiaries manufacture toys, speciality paints, leather and leather products.
Goodyear has released its 2nd quarter financial results. At $3.58 billion, Q2 turnover was slightly up from Q1 ($3.4 bn) and around the same as for Q2 last year. Profits after tax were $7.8 million, nearly 90 per cent down on the figure for Q2 2000 of $77.1 m. However, Q2’s profits were a vast improvement on the $46.7 m loss recorded in Q1 2001, due largely to increased business from the replacement of Firestone tyres on Ford Explorers. For the first half of 2001, Goodyear posted a net loss of $38.9 m, compared to a profit of $125.3 m for H1 2000. Regarding the rationalisation programme, 5,800 jobs have been lost from the proposed total of 7,800.
Goodyear has released details of its financial performance for the last quarter of 2000 and for the year as a whole. Sales for 2000 were a record $14.4 bn (1999: $13.4 bn), of which Dunlop contributed $2.3 bn. Goodyear estimates that currency factors reduced sales by $450 m. Net income was sharply down to $40.3 m (1999: $243.2 m). The number of tyres produced in 2000 rose by 22.8 million units to 223.3 m tyres, of which Dunlop shipped 37.3 m units. Samir Gibara, chairman and chief executive officer, described the results as “disappointing”, adding: “We have solid improvement plans in place for 2001.” Gibara went on to say that global rationalisation initiatives will reduce group employment worldwide by 7,200 and save $150 m this year, and $250 m annually thereafter.
Continental Teves (Frankfurt), part of the Continental Automotive Systems Group, has signed a licence agreement with Toklan Toos, the largest brake manufacturer in the Middle East. The company will produce and sell Electronic Brake Systems (ABS) in Iran.
Goodyear has announced a reshuffle at its European businesses. Sylvain G. Valensi, the outgoing president of the European Union business unit, will be on special assignment, reporting directly to Robert Keegan, Goodyear’s president and COE. Valensi will be replaced by Michael J. Roney, who transfers from the Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East Business Unit. Roney is in turn replaced by Jarro F. Kaplan, who previously held the post of managing director for Goodyear UK, and latterly of Goodyear Germany. Both Roney and Kaplan will report directly to Robert Keegan.
The group’s turnover fell from US$ 3.66 bn (1st quarter 2000) to US$ 3.41 bn for Q1 this year. Last year the group achieved earnings before taxes of US$ 80.3 million; this has turned into a loss of US$ 48.2 million. Earnings after tax fell to a loss of US$ 46.7 million. Despite these poor figures, analysts – especially from Deutsche Bank – have confidence in Goodyear, which is based on the hope that the effect of the disastrous Firestone recall will create a big advantage for first brands, and is also based on the assumption that price increases will stick. Last but not least, Goodyear has said that its on-going restructuring programme will lead to further significant cost reductions.
Pirelli’s truck tyre division generated a 1999 turnover of 466 million Euro and an EBIT of approximately 38 million Euro (eight per cent of turnover). For the current year the division has set itself the firm target of breaking the 500-million-euro barrier. The commercial vehicle tyre business accounts for almost 20 p.c. of Pirelli’s tyre turnover, in which the truck tyre factory in Alexandria/Egypt plays a key role. (The group also has commercial vehicle tyre production in Settimo Torinese/Italy, Izmit/Turkey and Santo André/Brazil). The enterprise started in 1990 with a mere 11 p.c. Pirelli participation in the 150 million dollar investment. And even that was not in hard cash but in know-how about building a new truck tyre factory and research and development data for the product. Other investors were local, both private and public finance consortiums. As Egyptian legislation was liberalised, it became possible for the Italians to increase their share to 60 p.c. by capital raising measures and to take the industrial leadership. Only two years after the start of building the first truck tyre was produced at the Alexandria factory. In 1995 the annual capacity was 100,000 truck tyres, today 330,000. In two investment stages capacity is to be increased to 550,000 tyres in the short term and to 800,000 tyres per year by 2003. But the plans do not only involve volume growth; new products are also part of the project, for instance the tubed tyres FG85 and TG85 for on/off application in Africa and the Middle East, introduced on the Truck Tyre Day 2000. The total investment plan is for 140 million Euro. Currently only a third of the truck tyres produced in Alexandria go to export, but in future exports will account for about half the output. Read more in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 5/2000.
Continental makes her know-how available to Iranian company Kerman Tyre and Rubber Company (Tehran) for the production of truck and car tyre radials. Later Kerman will produce its own brand under this technology plus truck and car tyre radials in an offtake agreement under the Continental brand for the Middle East and Central Asia.