STIP expands, eyes N. America FRANKFURT, Germany—Tunisian tire maker Societe Tunisienne des Industries de Pneumatiques (STIP) has embarked on a five-year, $100 million expansion designed to triple capacity and add all-steel truck radials to its product mix.
The Tunisian government is providing more than half the total investment, said Ben Marzouk Abdelhamid, assistant director of commercial and marketing for the Sousse, Tunisia-based company.
One aim of the expansion is to broaden the company's export potential, Mr. Abedlhamid said. Currently STIP exports about 20 percent of production, and hopes to start selling its ``Amine'' brand in North America in the coming year or two. Sales of the firm's products in North America will involve Pirelli Tire North America, Mr. Abdelhamid said, because STIP obtains radial tire technology from Pirelli S.p.A., which owned a minority stake in the plant until the late 1980s.
Overall, STIP's annual capacity should grow to about 2.3 million units by 2005 from the current level of 700,000, Mr. Abdelhamid said. The executive declined to estimate what effect the expansion will have on the company's annual sales, currently about $70 million.
Conti accelerates plant closing
NEWBRIDGE, Scotland—Continental A.G. will close its Newbridge passenger tire plant by Oct. 18, four to six weeks earlier than originally scheduled. The date was agreed upon by Continental, labor union leaders at the plant and local government officials after Conti worked out an acceptable severence package for the plant's 780 workers.
Conti cited operating losses of about $50 million over five years and the plant's relatively small size—4.5 million units a year—as reasons for closing. A large portion of the Newbridge production will be taken up by a new plant Conti is building in Romania.