By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
Akron, Ohio- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is now the sole owner of Sava Tires d.o.o., having acquired Sava dd's remaining 20-percent in the Kranj, Slovenia-based tyre maker, Goodyear has announced.
The $52-million acquisition, strengthens Goodyear's position as the No. 2 tyre maker in Europe and enhances its low-cost sourcing capabilities, claimed Robert Keegan, Goodyear's chairman and CEO.
Sava Tires exports more than 80 percent of its production, mainly to other European countries and is â€œplaying an important role in our success in Europe,â€ according to Keegan, in a 29 June press statement.
Goodyear acquired a 60-percent stake in Sava Tires in 1998, and bought an additional 20 percent in 2002. The US group's interests in Slovenian firm are operated by Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe- its 75 percent-owned joint venture with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
In the first quarter of 2004, Goodyear said sales for its European-based tyre businesses were 20 percent higher than in the same period last year, while operating income rose 144 percent.