As we go to print on the December issue of Tyres & Accessories, Micheldever Group is marking a year since Sumitomo Rubber Industries, manufacturer of Falken Tyres for which MTS is UK distributor, bought the UK tyre distributor from previous owner Graphite Capital Management. While the sale was not unexpected, the identity of the new owner may have been somewhat surprising, though SRI’s investment in Falken Tyre Europe following the late-2015 dissolution of its alliance agreement with Goodyear makes the acquisition of a leading distributor a logical move. For Micheldever’s board, SRI was said to be an attractive new owner, with the presumption that it would offer offering longevity, stability, and consistency; as a large, well-established, high quality top-six tyre manufacturer seeking to broaden its knowledge of UK distribution with an already successful business.
Falken’s status as the official tyre partner of Liverpool Football Club is one of the latest in an extended series of tyre and football partnerships. Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity of Falken’s first event at Anfield to ask director and senior executive officer, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Yutaka Kuroda and chief commercial officer and managing director at Liverpool FC Billy Hogan to illustrate how the partnership will be used to benefit both parties. In addition to the particular synergies between the club and tyre brand, their answers also illustrate why there has been such a boom in partnerships between top-tier football clubs and tyres in recent years.
On March 30, Sumitomo Rubber Industries will decentralise the day-to-day supervision and management of its overseas offices and subsidiaries, handing responsibility for this over to three newly-formed regional headquarters. The tyre maker and industrial/sporting products manufacturer believes that the establishment of headquarters for Europe and Africa, the Americas and the Asia Pacific regions will help the company gain a greater understanding of the business situation in each area, and by doing so accelerate its decision making process.