PARIS (Oct. 7, 2004) — Group Michelin has acquired an option on real estate adjacent to its Stomil-Olsztyn S.A. tire plant in Olsztyn, Poland, fueling speculation the tire maker is planning to add capacity to the plant or build an entirely new plant there.
Michelin indicated in documents presented at the recent Paris Auto Salon that it has budgeted more than $275 million for some type of project in Poland and/or Hungary. A Michelin spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the company's intentions for the acquired land, saying only that the firm studies many projects on an ongoing basis.
Media reports in Poland and Hungary said Michelin was in negotiations with government officials in both countries about locating a new tire plant there. Polish media reported Olsztyn city officials had made legal provisions to facilitate the implementation of a project.
Michelin owns nearly 99 percent of the stock in Stomil-Olsztyn, having boosted it from about 70 percent in May 2003 with a $95 million purchase of shares from local shareholders. Michelin has owned majority control of Stomil-Olsztyn since late 1994.
Michelin also has budgeted more than $60 million for expansion capacity in Romania this year and next, according to the documents.