AKRON-Tire companies again led the annual ranking of the top 50 rubber product makers in the United States published by TIRE BUSINESS' sister publication Rubber & Plastics News (RPN). Goodyear headed the list for the third consecutive year, with an even $10 billion in rubber-related sales-2.6-percent less than in 1992 but enough to keep the tire giant far ahead of the No. 2 companies Michelin North America and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., both with sales of $4 billion.
Overall, the rubber product industry continued to improve in 1993, as evidenced by the rising cutoff for the 50th spot on the list: $61.8 million for 1993 vs. $50 million in 1992 and $44 million in 1991.
Analyst Scott Soffen of Lehman Brothers Inc. said the improvement isn't surprising considering the growing economy and a strong automotive market spurred by light truck sales.
The economy also is having a positive effect on the automotive aftermarket and the industrial market-two segments with heavy rubber industry participation.
RPN's Top 50 is compiled from annual reports and surveys sent to about 120 publicly and privately held rubber product manufacturers, with the aid of Nordby International Inc., a consulting firm based in Louisville, Colo..
The list comprises U.S.-based companies, whether they are American-owned, subsidiaries of foreign-based firms or joint venture operations located in the U.S.
Each firm's sales figures include foreign and domestic sales, as long as the operations are managed by the U.S.-based unit.
1993's Top 50 remained relatively the same as 1992's, with the top 10 staying almost static.
Tire makers Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone/Firestone, General Tire and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. retained the top five spots; however, BFS, No. 3 in 1992, moved up to tie Michelin for second place.
Following the tire manufacturers was the largest non-tire company, Denver-based Gates Corp., in the No. 6 position with sales of $1.12 billion.
Standard Products Co., parent of Oliver Rubber Co., broke into the top 10 for the first time with rubber sales of $560 million.
Rubbermaid Inc. remained the largest non-tire, non-automotive company on the list. The Wooster, Ohio-based housewares firm slipped one notch to 16th place despite an 8.6-percent increase in rubber sales to $392 million.
Among tread rubber makers, Bandag Inc. continued to lead, ranking No. 12 with rubber-related sales of $505.2 million-a 4.3-percent rise from 1992.
Oliver Rubber Co. would have followed Bandag at the 33rd position, but its sales are included with its parent, Standard Products. Edwards-Warren Tire Co., another tread rubber firm, came in at No. 50 with $61.8 million.