TST attributed the slide to a languid market in both China and overseas. TST’s total assets also dropped by 3 percent to €238 million.
The negative trend continued into this year, TST forecasting net losses of between 5 million yuan (€0.7 million) and 10 million yuan for the first quarter of 2016 – compared to a net profit of 9.8 million yuan in the prior-year first quarter.
Speaking to ERJ earlier this year, Zhang Jiliang, vice general manager of TST linked the declines to overcapacity in China, which represents the world’s largest tire market. The tire industry in China, he added, faced some major challenges that required new strategies for the future.
The way forward, he suggested, could include setting up more tire plants abroad, following the lead set by Qingdao Sentury Tire Co Ltd and Shandong Linglong Tire Co Ltd, which have established new facilities in Thailand.
“If the strategy is to move, then we will follow these companies and support their long-term strategies,” Zhang commented.
TST is also looking to further develop its relationships with Western tire manufacturers: the Tianjin-based company is already involved in a project with Continental in the OTR tire sector.
“With this type of co-operation we can learn how Western tire makers are thinking,” said Zhang.
More significantly, perhaps, for the Chinese rubber machinery manufacturing sector is state-owned China National Chemical Corp.’s (ChemChina) €925-million acquisition of KraussMaffei – following on from its purchase of Italian tire maker Pirelli & C. SpA for about €7.1 billion.
ChemChina’s wholly owned subsidiary China National Chemical Equipment Co. Ltd. (CNCE) produces a wide range of industrial equipment, including rubber curing presses, mixers and tire-building machines.
CNCE’s stated strategy is to become a “globally renowned chemical machinery and rubber machinery provider in three to five years.”
To support this strategy, KraussMaffei is preparing to step up its activities in the tire machinery market.
Post-acquisition, ChemChina said it will integrate all of its existing rubber machinery and related production businesses with KraussMaffei.