Thomas Ballegaard has returned to a business closely linked to the tyre industry. Just over a year after parting ways with STARCO, he has taken on the role of chief commercial officer at end-of-life tyre recycling specialist Genan. He joined the Genan team on 1 March, taking overall responsibility for European Sales as well as for global marketing and product management.
The recent signing of a long-term supply agreement between Maxam Tire International and STARCO will allow the latter to extend its wheel and tyre product range for the growing agricultural segment. The agricultural trailer and implement products supplied by Maxam will primarily consist of tyres with higher than standard speed and load ratings; these will be paired with STARCO rims and offered to OEMs as complete wheel solutions.
After more than a year of testing in the fields of Lithuania together with local John Deere distributor Dojus Group and distributor Bohnenkamp, STARCO says it can now offer a replacement wheel solution for the John Deere 6 tractor series. This new solution enables the fitment of non-standard wheels and tyres of different widths as well as dual mount wheels.
As of 1 January 2018, Agriest will act as the French market distributor for STARCO’s aftermarket range. This new agreement allows Agriest to offer its customers the STARCO product range, excepting made-to-measure and dual wheels. Agriest will primarily distribute STARCO’s wheel and tyre solutions for tractors, utility vehicles and agricultural implements; wheel and tyre solutions for lawn and garden will be handled by PVP, a subsidiary of the Sterenn & Co group.
Since the middle of last year, STARCO has oriented its focus towards the original equipment business, and is currently phasing out most of its replacement market activities in Europe. On 31 March, the company exited the replacement business in France and reduced its aftermarket presence in Poland, where it is now restricting its sales to solid forklift tyres. Only the STARCO group’s UK subsidiary now retains its traditional replacement market activity.
After a period of relatively stable and low raw material prices, the wheel and tyre industry is now experiencing extensive increases in the cost of both rubber and steel. All major tyre manufacturers have already announced price increases, and although STARCO states it has fought hard to mitigate these increases, it now finds itself in a position where it must pass some of this additional cost on to its customers. This price increase will affect all STARCO market segments.
A new chapter in STARCO’s history began on 1 July 2016 when German wholesaler Bohnenkamp took over a number of the Danish firm’s aftermarket operations, including the STARCO Eastern Group and aftermarket businesses in Scandinavia, Germany and, with one or two exceptions, the Benelux countries. The businesses were divested as part of an increased focus on the original equipment sector under the company’s 2020 strategy, and STARCO has now announced the next step in its path to becoming a pure OE player. In the months to 1 April 2017, STARCO will phase out its entire traditional aftermarket activities.
Four years ago, STARCO established a new subsidiary in South Africa together with its local distributor, Mac and TireCity. The company has now decided to divest its 50 per cent shareholding and exit South Africa in order to strengthen its focus on its core business and OEM customers across Europe. STARCO’s shareholding has been transferred to a newly-established company owned by Mac and TireCity.
With a flip of the calendar page June became July, and STARCO and Bohnenkamp each began a new chapter in their histories. STARCO reports that the start of the new month found its offices “buzzing heavily with activity,” and the company shares that much progress has been made since the signing of a deal between the two companies in May.
Change of any sort within an organisation can be difficult, says Richard Todd, but sometimes change is necessary in order to find the right area of focus and to grow in this. Upon becoming chief executive officer of STARCO at the start of last year, Todd took over the day-to-day management of a half-century old company on the cusp of starting the sizable task of redefining its focus and long-term direction. He began working on this in close collaboration with company owner, Peer Ejlergaard. Now, some 18 months later, this direction is clearly visible. At Reifen 2016, Richard Todd spoke about the structural reorganisation taking place within STARCO and the steps taken to realise it.
In recent times, Starco has focused upon transforming its organisation from a national market set-up to a segment-based structure. Tyrepress.com talked to Starco CEO Richard Todd about this restructuring at Reifen 2016 and will cover it in detail at a later date (and in the July 2016 issue of Tyres & Accessories magazine), and also met Thomas Ballegaard, the man tasked with setting the structures of this new, segment-driven Starco.