BUDAPEST, Hungary-Group Michelin will take over majority control of Taurus Rubber Co. for an estimated $64 million along with pledges to invest a like amount in Taurus' facilities, to maintain employment at 90 percent of its current level, and keep the Taurus brand alive. According to Peter Kovacs, president of Taurus' U.S. subsidiary Taurus International Inc., in Totowa, N.J., the division will continue to handle Taurus distribution in the U.S. and customers will not notice any changes stemming from the ownership switch except improved product quality.
Michelin's tender bid to Hungary's State Privatisation Agency, APV RT, was accepted over competing bids by Bridgestone Corp. and Goodyear.
Included in the acquisition are a truck tire plant in Budapest, an agricultural tire factory in Nyregyhaza, Hungary, and three industrial rubber product plants; it is expected Michelin will divest these latter units over time.
As many as 18 companies had expressed an interest in Taurus, an APV RT spokesman said. Many were reportedly interested in only a part of Taurus, in particular the farm tire plant, but APV stood firm on selling the company as a whole.
Michelin's Swiss financial holding company, Co. Financiere Michelin, will take over 90-percent control of Taurus for $10.4 million cash along with assuming $62.6 million in liabilities.
Taurus reported $3.6 million in pre-tax profits last year on sales of $120 million.