ERJ staff report (TB)
Akron, Ohio -- Goodyear has acquired 100-percent ownership of its Nippon Giant Tire Co. Ltd. venture in Tatsuno, Japan, and disclosed plans to invest $250 million in the unit to expand capacity.
This investment will enable Nippon Giant to make a full line of 57-inch tyres in the short term and 63-inch tyres at a future date, said Dan Smytka, president of Goodyear's Asia Pacific region.
â€œThe time is right for us to increase our presence in OTR in Asia Pacific,â€ Smytka said. â€œWeâ€¦will continue to build on the strong momentum accelerated by this expansion.â€
Goodyear's former partners in the venture were Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. (30 percent stake) and Mitsubishi Corp. (5 percent).
In its own statement, Toyo said it decided to divest its holding in order to â€œfurther concentrate its business resources towards growth and strategic markets.â€ Toyo said the sales is â€œnot expected to have a material impact on ToyoÂ´s consolidated earnings for the current period.â€
The upgrades will expand the plant's capabilities with new manufacturing technologies and processes. The expanded facility is expected to be fully operational in early 2014 and increase employment at the 50-year-old operation to approximately 400 workers.
Goodyear did not disclose the plant's capacity; output has been estimated in the past at 100 units daily.
Goodyear said the expansion will support growth in the company's Asia Pacific OTR business, primarily in Australia, which is one of the world's largest markets for OTR tyres.
â€œGoodyear's OTR tyres are in high demand globally,â€ said Richard Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer. â€œThis expansion in Japan is aligned to our Strategy Roadmap, as it will enable us to use market-back innovation to grow in one of our targeted market segments, the global OTR business.â€
The company also produces OTR tyres at plants in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Luxembourg, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa and Turkey. It makes 63-inch radials at its plant in Topeka, Kan.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)