GORHAM, Maine (Feb. 27, 2001)—Maine Industrial Tires Ltd. seeks annual sales of between $15 million and $20 million in Europe during the next three to five years after a successful first year in that market.
The Gorham-headquartered parent of MaineTire, Industrial Tires Ltd. and Precision Products set up an office in the Netherlands in November 1999. The company topped its goal, pulling in more than $1 million in sales during its first year of operation, according to Ken Hebert, acting general manager of subsidiary MaineTire and chief financial officer of MITL.
"We´re gearing up to be a real player in Europe," Mr. Hebert said. "In the past, MaineTire has concentrated on the North American market and hasn´t paid attention to the European market. But we have the tires that are ideal for Europe and we knew we couldn´t ignore it."
The manufacturer of industrial rubber tires and assorted polyurethane products is in the midst of developing more mid-range tires and expanding its small economy line to match competitors´ products, meet customers´ needs and ensure consistent growth, Mr. Hebert said. Its product development plan will be in place for at least for the next two years.
MaineTire and Maine Industrial Tires primarily make premium tires, which dealers prefer, Mr. Hebert said. But the companies need a wider variety to compete and become global.
With a year under its belt in Europe, Mr. Hebert said, MaineTire faces a great opportunity with strong potential for growth. Ultimately, it could account for a third of the tire maker´s business. "We had a very successful first year and we expect a strong second year," he said. He did not say what segment of the European market had proved strongest for MaineTire thus far.
Mr. Hebert said Maine Industrial is upgrading its operations and plans to expand via acquisition. The company will continue to restructure, and as capacity at its three plants fills up, it will find lower-cost manufacturers to handle some production.
The company made numerous changes to improve efficiency during the last year, Mr. Hebert said, including the enhancement of its manufacturing facilities in Gorham; Mississauga, Ontario; and Guelph, Ontario. The firm also upgraded and centralized its distribution centers, and implemented new manufacturing efficiencies.