The president of the Hauts-de-France region has labelled Bridgestone’s planned closure of its Béthune tyre manufacturing plant “brutal” and a “premeditated assassination.” For good measure, Xavier Bertrand added “we are dealing with cynics and liars” in his strongly-worded response to Bridgestone’s announcement. In a joint statement with the French government, Bertrand’s Hauts-de-France Region called on the Bridgestone group to “assume its responsibilities,” alleging that the company’s divestment from and allocation of low-margin tyres to the Béthune plant over the last decade has “automatically” led to its deficit in competitiveness.
Bridgestone has announced its plan to close its Bethune plant in France. The manufacturer said that the measure is being used to reduce production overcapacity and to improve cost efficiency. The proposal could impact 863 employees. Bridgestone added that it is “fully aware of the social consequences of this project and is committed to using all means at its disposal to define support plans for each employee.” The earliest the closure would take place is the second quarter of 2021. Bridgestone’s presence in France would continue through sales and retail operations, in which it employs about 3,500, the company said.
Employees at Continental AG’s Aachen, Germany tyre factory were informed that the plant will be closed by the end of 2021. According to the German Handelsblatt newspapter, more than 1,800 employees will be affected by the closure. The announcement comes two weeks after Continental announced cost-cutting plans aiming at saving 1 billion euros by 2023.
On 15 May CAMCE signed a commercial contract with Tijan Petroleum Co. Ltd. to build a new tyre plant in Morocco. According to local news reports, CAMCE vice president Hu Wei signed the contract with Tijan vice president Ibrahim Khayat witnessed by chairman Luo Yan of CAMCE and executive vice president Ahmed Khayat of Tijan.
Various news reports suggest Jinyu, (which changed its name to Sailun Jinyu in 2014 following its merger with Sailun) could be building a new tyre plant in Turkey. According to the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper, Jinyu is considering a joint-venture with local distributor Yeslas.
On 1 October 2015 Nexen Tire broke ground on the site of its new plant in Zatec, Czech Republic. The company has committed to investing more than 829 million euros in building the new plant on 650,000 square metres of land in Zatec.
A group of “leading rubber processors from China” are set to visit Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar to survey sites to establish rubber plants in the next week or so. Thailand’s The Nation reports that about 10 rubber processors from Shandong province and representatives from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade are scheduled to visit Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand between 19 and 25 November.
The group reportedly consists of around 50 representatives from both companies and government agencies. It will reach Thailand on 23 November where it will stay for two to three days with a view to considering “opportunities to invest in the South and Northeast, the country’s major rubber tree growing areas”.
The agricultural tyre market appears particularly well suited towards specialised manufacturers; Trelleborg Wheel Systems acquired Pirelli’s agricultural business in 1999, with the branding switched between 2006 and 2010. Since acquiring various technologies from Pirelli, the Trelleborg Group has invested heavily in order to make its tyre and wheel operation a premium brand player in the agricultural and forestry tyre market. The Tivoli facility, with its buildings showing a manufacturing history dating back to the 1940s, but also incorporating the latest agricultural tyre building machinery, represents “a history full of innovation for farming professionals,” in president of the Agricultural and Forestry Tyres business unit, Paolo Pompei’s words.
Following news reports that Apollo has chosen Hungary as the location of its new tyre plant, the company has released a statement reiterated its plans and stating that it is “yet to finalise the exact location” for its factory.
Slovakian news sources are reporting that Apollo has chosen Hungary over Slovakia for the site of its new 500 million euro tyre factory. According to the reports, is was “the business environment in Slovakia” pushed the manufacturer towards the other site when choosing from a shortlist of two.
Cooper Tire executives have confirmed that reports of a fire at the company’s Cooper Chengshan (Shandong)Tire Company Ltd. (CCT) manufacturing plant in Rongcheng, China were correct. As far as the details are concerned, writing in an official statement Cooper Tire officials confirmed that the fire took place on 28 May outside of the factory site proper. According to the company, there were no injuries and “minimal damage to property”.
At the time photographs of the fire were published alongside local Chinese reports, however these provided no details of what damage the fire caused or where it actually took place. Cooper has now explained that “the fire involved a scrap tyre area outside the main manufacturing plant structure”. As a result production was temporarily suspended. It has now returned to normal.