TBC earnings up 26% in qtr.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.-TBC Corp. reported significantly higher sales and earnings in the first quarter of 2002, fueled by a 9.6-percent increase in tire unit volume during the period compared with a year ago.
Net income for the quarter ended March 31 grew 26 percent to $4.81 million as sales improved 9.9 percent to $249.7 million. Earnings per share increased 22 percent to a record 23 cents, the company said.
TBC attributed the improved performance to solid sales contributions from both its retail network and wholesale distribution channels. TBC's unit growth was nearly double the industry growth rate of 5 percent, the company said, indicating it gained market share.
The company continued to expand its retail operation during the quarter, adding 22 tire and service centers to its Tire Kingdom and Big O Tires retail chains-including 19 Mueller Tire & Brake locations in Ohio-for a total of 708 retail locations. This compares with 640 stores a year ago. TBC said it plans to have at least 750 stores in its system by year-end.
Bridgestone, GM maintain contract
TOKYO-General Motors Corp. has renewed a supplier agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone calling for BFS to supply 2.5 million Bridgestone and Firestone brand tires a year to GM, according to a BFS spokeswoman.
The contract includes GM's revamped Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Malibu, the spokeswoman said, confirming Japanese news reports of the deal.
``We've had a contract with General Motors for decades,'' the spokeswoman said. ``General Motors has given us unwavering support and GM has continued to buy both the Bridgestone and the Firestone brands.''
O.K. Tire official dealer of CFL
LANGLEY, British Columbia-O.K. Tire Stores Inc. has agreed to become the official tire retailer of the Canadian Football League.
The sponsorship includes the regular season, playoffs and Grey Cup games in Edmonton, Alberta, and Regina, Saskatchewan.
``Our customers are football fans,'' said Bruce Hawley, O.K. Tire's director of dealer support and communication. ``They recognize the importance of the CFL in Canada and the strength of the Grey Cup''-the CFL's ``Superbowl.''
SmarTire taps investment firm
RICHMOND, British Columbia-SmarTire Systems Inc. has named H.C. Wainwright & Co. Inc., a U.S. investment banking firm specializing in small-cap growth companies, as the company's financial advisor.
SmarTire has pioneered the research and development of tire monitoring technology. With the Transportation Recall Efficiency, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act, improved tire safety standards will require tire pressure warning systems on new passenger cars and light trucks produced in the U.S. after 2003.
SmarTire also has completed a private placement for gross proceeds of $1.31 million through the issuance of 750,000 shares. Net proceeds from the private placement will be used for debt repayment and working capital, the company said.
Hankook sponsors car club events
CENTENNIAL, Colo.-Hankook Tire America Corp. has partnered with the Sports Car Club of America Inc. to provide sponsorship for the Street Touring S class at all Tire Rack SCCA Solo II National Tour events, the Tire Rack SCCA Solo II National Championships and all Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo events.
The U.S. unit of South Korean tire maker Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. said it will award prize money for the top two finishers in the Solo II National Tour and ProSolo events as well as for ProSolo year-end point standings and Solo II National championships. The prize money will be significantly higher if participants race on Hankook tires.
Hankook said it will have strong signage presence at the Solo and ProSolo events and will have decals on all cars competing in the STS category.
Kumho, university in Web venture
KENT, Ohio-Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. has joined forces with Kent State University's Center for Executive Education and Development to create a customized Web-based/Internet accessible training program for customer service and sales reps.
``Kumho University Online,'' as the program will be called, will have three self-contained modules: ``History and Outlook,'' ``The Kumho Way to Go'' and a section on training that includes phone etiquette, conflict resolution and listening and communicating.