Jury selected for retread trial
DES MOINES, Iowa-Jury selection has been completed in the retreading lawsuit involving Bandag Inc., Michelin North America Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Des Moines.
Opening arguments in the trial should start May 13, a Michelin spokeswoman said. The trial-moved from Davenport, Iowa, to Des Moines-is expected to last eight weeks and will be heard by Judge James A. Gritzner.
In its suit, Bandag alleges that Michelin tried to eliminate Bandag as a player in the retreading market.
Michelin is countersuing claiming Bandag holds a monopoly on the retreading industry. Michelin also has named BFS in its suit, alleging BFS and Bandag conspired to prevent retreaders from adopting Michelin's retreading system by offering financial incentives.
Michelin sales up 4.1% in qtr.
PARIS-Group Michelin's sales rose 4.1 percent in the first quarter, to $3.43 billion, with the gain coming largely from better price/mix and currency exchange effects.
Tire sales volume was up only about 1 percent, as declines in original equipment business in all product categories offset replacement market gains. Earnings were not released at this time.
In North America, Michelin reported 2.8-percent higher passenger car/light truck tire unit sales and 9.2-percent higher truck tire volume. The increase in truck tire sales is slightly misleading, the company said, because its business in the first quarter of 2001 was off considerably after it took a hard line on prices and sales suffered.
Michelin said it remains confident it will meet its performance objectives this year.
Pirelli's U.S. unit saw profit in '01
MILAN, Italy-Pirelli Tire L.L.C., Pirelli S.p.A.'s U.S. operating unit, was $9.14 million in the black last year, despite a 9.1-percent drop in sales, to $158.5 million, according to information in Pirelli's annual report.
The positive net result was in stark contrast to the $114.2 million loss reported in 2000, when the company accounted for the costs of closing its Hanford, Calif., tire plant.
Pirelli blamed part of the sales decline to lost business with Sears, Roebuck and Co. and attributed its improved earnings to a better product mix, a spokesman said. The profit is only the second positive result in the past 12 years.
Pirelli recently decided to end a North American marketing agreement with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., and instead will resume control itself of the marketing of its products in the U.S. and Canada starting in July. Cooper will continue to handle distribution of Pirelli products.
Myers' earnings rise as sales drop
AKRON-Myers Industries Inc., parent firm of Patch Rubber Co. and Myers Tire Supply, reported a 9.9- percent drop in first quarter revenue as sales in the company's manufacturing segment tumbled 12 percent from the same period last year.
Net income for the three months ended March 31 rose 25.8 percent to $10 million, the highest in any quarter in the company's history. The firm benefited from favorable raw material prices, lower interest rates, reduced operating expenses and the effect of an accounting change for goodwill, President and CEO Stephen Myers said.
The Akron-based firm reduced its long-term debt with a $2.1 million debt repayment in the first quarter. Total debt as a percentage of shareholders' equity was 117.4 percent at the end of the first quarter compared with 121.8 percent at the end of 2001, Myers said.
ConvExx, Schrantz to manage Expo
RESTON, Va.-The Tire Association of North America and the International Tire & Rubber Association have named Las Vegas-based trade show management company ConvExx as the show manager for the World Tire Expo.
The World Tire Expo will take place March 27-29, 2003, at the new Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky.
ConvExx manages several trade shows in the automotive and apparel industries-including the Specialty Equipment Market Association show-and provides association management for the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association.
In a related move, Gretchen Schrantz, ITRA convention and meeting director, will remain in that role for the soon-to-be merged association.
She will work with ConvExx to oversee planning for the World Tire Expo, though her role with the convention could grow to include the SEMA/ITE show, said TANA Executive Vice President Ross Kogel.