FRANKFURT, Germany-Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has agreed to acquire Pneumant Reifen & Gummi Werke GmbH and has pledged to invest more than $65 million in the former East German tire maker in the coming three years. Sumitomo, via its German operating unit, SP Reifenwerke GmbH, guaranteed it will maintain at least 650 employees at Pneumant's two factories-in Furstenwalde and Riesa, Germany-for three years. The acquisition, for a price thought to be less than $35 million, will take effect officially Jan. 1, 1995.
Sumitomo/Dunlop is operating at the limits of its capacity in Europe, a company spokesman said, and considers a takeover of Pneumant a cost-effective way to expand-much cheaper than building a new plant. The link-up also will ease Dunlop's entry into the emerging markets of eastern Europe, where Pneumant still has connections, and will give Dunlop a lower-priced associate brand (Pneumant), something it has not had.
Pneumant employs about 800 and makes a relatively complete range of passenger car, light truck, heavy truck, farm and OTR tires, with annual capacities of 2 million passenger and 150,000 truck tires. Annual sales totaled $64 million last year and are expected to be at that level this year.
SP Reifenwerke plans to make Dunlop-brand tires in these plants as soon as next year, following the transfer of know-how and some modernization.
An option held by Italy's Marangoni SpA to buy controlling interest in Pneumant lapsed at the end of last year. An earlier agreement that called for the Iranian government to acquire a 40-percent share and exchange technology also lapsed.-By Bruce Davis, Europe Correspondent.
GOODYEAR EYEING POLISH FIRMS
AKRON-Goodyear has confirmed that it is negotiating the possible purchase of at least one tire manufacturer in Poland.
The U.S. tire maker is looking at tire companies put up for sale by Poland's Ministry of Privatization. ``The Polish government is being extremely helpful in allowing us to review the future potential of these companies,'' Goodyear said.
TIRE BUSINESS' annual ``Global Tire Report'' lists three tire makers in Poland: T.C. Debica, Stomil-Olsztyn S.A. and Stomil-Poznan. Goodyear has sales offices in eastern Europe-in Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic-but no tire plants.