AKRON (April 7, 2004) — In a bid to strengthen its position in the central and eastern European market, Goodyear will buy the remaining 20 percent of Sava Tires d.o.o., a joint venture tire manufacturer in Slovenia, for $52 million.
Goodyear said it will exercise its call option and purchase the remaining shares; the transaction is expected to be completed in June. The Akron-based tire maker also cited a need to consolidate low-cost sourcing capabilities. The minority 20-percent share in Sava Tires is owned by Slovenia's Sava d.d.
Goodyear's stake in Sava Tires is held by its 75-percent owned Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe affiliate.
Goodyear bought a 60-percent stake in the Sava Tires joint venture in 1997 and bought an additional 20 percent in 2002, for $38.5 million.
Kranj, Slovenia-based Sava Tires made more than 7 million tires for cars, light trucks and commercial vehicles in 2003, Goodyear said. It exported more than 80 percent, with the majority going to other European countries. Goodyear said it has invested more than $100 million over six years modernizing the plant.
“We have seen Sava Tires grow successfully as a supplier of quality products not only to the former Yugoslavian market but also to other countries in Europe,” said Bob Keegan, Goodyear chairman and CEO.
Goodyear also operates tire manufacturing plants in eastern Europe: Debica, Poland, and Izmit and Adapazari, Turkey. This year the tire maker expects its European-based businesses to manufacture more than 84 million tires — 40 percent of which will be produced in low-cost facilities.