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Raben Tire expanding retread operations

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (April 12, 2004) — Raben Tire Co. Inc. is adding a retreading plant to the three it already has—but it isn't quite ready to make the details public.


Sometime in late April or early May, Raben Tire will be ready to announce the location and process of its new plant, according to Treasurer C. Phillip Raben.


“It's not up in the air, but we're still coordinating with the manufacturer,” Mr. Raben said. “We still have some paperwork that needs to be completed.” He did say that the company supplying the retread technology for the new plant “is none of the three we're doing right now.”


Raben Tire currently has a Bandag Inc. medium truck tire plant in Evansville; a Goodyear medium truck tire facility in Clarksville, Ind,; and an Oliver Rubber Co. medium and light truck tire plant in Scott City, Mo. Together these facilities had an average production of about 325 units a day in 2003. Raben Tire switched from Bandag to Oliver technology at Scott City last December after Bandag did not renew the franchise there.


Last year Raben Tire President Tom Raben told Tire Business it was reviewing its options about adding a Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. facility to its existing retread plants. The decision would depend on the new plant's location, which would be outside the company's existing territory, he said.


Started in 1952 by the late Henry “Butch” Raben, Raben Tire is a family affair operated by Butch Raben's sons. Besides Tom and Phil, there are also Larry, who supervises commercial and farm tire operations; James, in charge of new locations and consumer affairs; and Jon, who helps oversee the wholesale operations.


Besides the three current retread plants, Raben Tire also has seven commercial outlets; 14 combined commercial/retail outlets; five retail-only outlets; and three warehouses.


Of the company's 516 employees, about a third work on the commercial side—101 in commercial service, 39 in commercial sales and 30 in retreading. More than half of its sales, however, come from commercial customers: Raben Tire's total 2003 sales were $98.1 million, of which $51.6 million were in commercial tires. For 2004, the company projects sales of $106 million, of which $53.5 million will be on the commercial side.


The commercial tire brands it carries include BFGoodrich, Cooper, Dunlop, Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield and Michelin. The new retread plant is the major addition Raben Tire plans this year, according to Phil Raben.

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