Conti to build new Czech plant
OTROKOVICE, Czech Republic-Continental A.G. will invest up to $84 million in a new plant in Otrokovice for high-performance radial passenger tires.
The new plant will be built adjacent to the existing Barum Continental S.R.O. car, truck and farm tire plant but will operate as a new wholly owned subsidiary of Continental. The new company, Continental HT Tyres S.R.O., is buying land for the plant from Barum Conti.
The plant's output will be rated at 3 million tires a year, with 430 manufacturing-related employees, according to a statement from CzechInvest, a foreign-investment-fostering agency funded by the Ministry of Industry & Trade of the Czech Republic.
CzechInvest is supporting the project with an as-yet undisclosed investment sum. The bulk of the plant's output will be exported as original equipment tires to major auto makers such as VW Group, DaimlerChrysler A.G., BMW Group, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
``The whole factory will be equipped with state-of-the-art machine technology and will apply the latest knowledge in the field of production organization,'' said Pavel Pravec, chairman of Barum Continental, a Continental joint venture with Czech investors.
The existing Barum Continental plant is a 54-year-old factory making 12 million car, truck, farm and industrial tires a year with 3,700 employees. Conti owns 85 percent of the venture, set up in 1993 with Barum Holdings.
Goodyear cutting tire output in U.K.
BIRMINGHAM, England-Goodyear Dunlop Tyres U.K. Ltd. will cease car and light truck tire production by year-end or early 2004 at its Wolverhampton, England, plant, with the loss of up to 420 jobs.
Goodyear Dunlop has initiated a 90-day consultation process with unions about the phaseout plan, which will reduce employment at the 73-year-old plant to about 600, the company announced Sept. 23.
Mixing, calendering, retreading and farm tire production operations will continue at Wolverhampton ``for the foreseeable future,'' according to a company spokesman. Total capacity for the plant is listed as 20,000 units a day.
Goodyear Dunlop supplies compound to its other facilities in the United Kingdom and France from the Wolverhampton site.
The production at Wolverhampton will be transferred to other Goodyear Dunlop sites in the European Union, the spokesman added without elaborating. The firm also has tire plants in Birmingham and Washington, England.
Pirelli looking into Indonesian plant
JAKARTA, Indonesia-Pirelli S.p.A. is evaluating the feasibility of buying or setting up a tire plant in Indonesia, but a company spokesman said the study is still preliminary.
Asian media, quoting Pirelli's general representative in Indonesia, Luigi Carlo Gastel, had reported in recent weeks the company was to build a $100 million passenger car and light truck tire plant in Indonesia, with an initial daily capacity of 5,000 units.
The Pirelli spokesman declined to comment directly on the figures, emphasizing the preliminary nature of the feasibility study.
In years past, Pirelli provided turnkey tire plant engineering to P.T. Oroban Perkasa in Jakarta and had an off-take production agreement with P.T. Gajah Tunggal. Pirelli already is active in Indonesia through its cables division.
Marangoni to add capacity in Brazil
TRENTO, Italy-Marangoni Group plans to add mixing facilities to its precured tread rubber plant in Lagoa Santa, Brazil, at a cost of $3.3 million.
The investment also will cover an increase in the number of special centripetal presses for the Ringtread rings and installation of a press for traditional retread strips, according to Giuseppe Ferrari, CEO of Marangoni Tread.
These additions will necessitate a 53,800-sq.-ft. expansion of the Brazilian plant. Marangoni do Brasil aims to mix 7,000 metric tons of compound in 2004. Currently its compound needs are supplied by local compounders, based on exclusive Marangoni formulations, a statement from the firm said.
The Marangoni do Brasil plant opened in April 2002, following an initial investment of around $14 million. Brazil is the second biggest market for retreads in the world, with a total consumption of around 12,000 tons of rubber compound per month, corresponding to around 10 million retreaded truck tires each year, Marangoni said.