Agricultural tire maker Trelleborg Wheel Industry S.p.A. is talking to Continental A.G. about cooperation in the agricultural tire business.
``We are in discussions with Conti about possible ways of cooperating,'' confirmed a spokesman for Trelleborg Wheel, a subsidiary of diversified rubber product maker Trelleborg A.B. ``These discussions don't look different from those we have with similar companies.''
Trelleborg has money to spend, as is well known, he said, adding the group aims to further its goal of building a leading position in various sectors. A spokesman for Continental indicated that ``for some time we have been talking to Trelleborg about a possible cooperation in a special tire segment,'' but said no further information is available at present.
Continental makes agricultural tires at its plant in Otrokovice, Czech Republic, which also makes Barum-brand tires.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems ranks third among suppliers of farm tires in Europe. Farm tires in 2002 were about half of the unit's $375 million in sales, according to Trelleborg's annual report. The head office is in Italy, a result of Trelleborg's 1998 takeover of Pirelli S.p.A.'s agricultural tire operations.
Trelleborg lists its major competitors in farm/forest tires as Group Michelin, Goodyear, Nokian Tyres P.L.C., Bridgestone/Firestone and Continental A.G. The global market for these tires is some $3 billion annually.