Continental Commercial tyre prices increased by seven percent in August. Effective 1st November, prices for passenger car tyres (summer and winter) and light truck tyres are to rise six percent. Higher costs for raw materials, oil and chemicals, as well as more expensive energy and distribution costs, are the reasons for this decision. The company cannot continue to absorb rising costs without passing them on. The retailer’s situation is comparable. “Our decision provides an opportunity for the retailers to improve the gross profit in their own field”, Jescow von Puttkamer told NEUE REIFENZEITUNG.
Michelin has released its financial results for the first half of the year, confirming the disappointing message given earlier. Turnover was 7,377 m Euro (first half of 1999: 6,488) and operating profit 540 m Euro (596). Increased raw material costs and a weak Euro were blamed as contributing factors, but Michelin says that the results do not fully reflect progress made in increasing competitiveness.
Nokian Tyres has released figures for the first nine months of the year. Sales rose 29.9% to 258.6 million Euro (199 m for the same period 1999) and operating profit fell to 11.9 million Euro (18.4 m). Net profit was 2.7 million Euro (9.9 m).
Goodyear reported a net loss for the third quarter of $6.6 million and a net income of $109.1 m (Q3 1999: $3.3 bn). High raw material and energy costs were contributory factors. World-wide Q3 sales were $3.5 bn and sales for the first nine months of the year were $10.5 bn (1999: $9.3 bn). Before these figures were revealed, analysts – following a statement towards the end of September by Samir Gibara, describing a “difficult outlook” for the tyre industry – had widely expected Goodyear to break even at best.
After Continental and Goodyear, Michelin is now planning a price increase of 3%, which would be equivalent to absorbing an increase in raw materials (Rubber, Oil) of about 12%. Due to the fact that raw material prices are continuing to grow it seems unlikely that much of the price increase will benefit the manufacturers.
An article in the newspaper Handelsblatt suggested that Continental is about to open a tyre factory in Moscow and that negotiations were close to final agreement. An investment in the region of 30 million Euros was reported. In September last year, Neue Reifenzeitung reported on negotiations between Continental and Moskauer Reifenwerke, which was very close to bankruptcy, although the financial situation may have improved as the main shareholder Yukos has sold its stake in the company. NEUE REIFENZEITUNG asked Continental for more details, but the company said it was not in a position to comment and could not confirm the figures quoted. Continental is only one of the tyre companies involved in negotiations in this area, with Michelin being another.
There are rumours in the market that the industry will raise tyre prices – maybe even this week – to cover increases in raw materials (rubber, oil, carbon black). As production capacities have been expanded during the last 24 months, it is doubted whether any increase will stick due to market pressure.