MISSISSAUGA, Ontario-Industrial Tires Ltd.'s July announcement that it will help develop a solid-tire plant in China was the latest in a series of moves designed to broaden the Canadian company's international scope. Prior to this deal, the Mississauga-based firm moved one of its production lines to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and entered into a marketing agreement with a Mexican firm that may lead to manufacturing in the next couple of years, said ITL Chairman Thomas Buckley.
In China, ITL has entered into an agreement with Yantai C.S.I. Rubber Co. that will lead to an April 1995 start-up of two injection molding lines with capacity to make 250,000 solid industrial tires a year.
ITL will provide technology, patterns and compounds, and will take care of equipment selection and process and product engineering.
Yantai, part of China Strategic Investment Holdings, will invest more than $5 million in equipment and will house the new production lines in its 300,000-sq.-ft. factory.
ITL has exclusive rights to develop export markets for the tires, so the Canadian firm plans a number of steps to ensure the quality of the tires-primarily for forklifts-remains at a high level.
``We're totally and absolutely committed to maintaining the appearance and quality needed to succeed with the Chinese OEMs and be a significant player in the Asia/Pacific region,'' Mr. Buckley said.
ITL always has been one to look outward from its Mississauga base. Founded in 1958, the firm first entered the U.S. market in 1980 and now ranks in a virtual tie as the top industrial tire maker in North America.
A 1992 deal placed an ITL high-performance resilient tire production line in a Sri Lankan factory owned by Germany's Vorwerk & Sohn GmbH, which Mr. Buckley called ``important additional plant capacity.''
The marketing agreement with Mexico's Hulera Joyma S.A. de C.V. has gone well and has ITL looking at opportunities in South America. This could lead to some sort of manufacturing presence in 1995 or 1996, the ITL chairman said.
ITL will not overlook its home factory in Mississauga, which is currently running at capacity. About $1 million was invested last year to boost capacity for its Brawler solid off-the-road tire, and a third injection line might be in the plans for later this year, Mr. Buckley said.