AKRON (Jan. 27, 2005) — A Jan. 24 report on Tyres & Accessories magazine's Web site claiming Goodyear is in talks regarding the possible sale of its agricultural tire division to Titan International Inc. is, at this point, only a rumor.
The report, which cited no sources, said Goodyear management is willing to keep its European farm tire business.
A Goodyear spokeswoman said the Akron tire maker is aware of the report but won't comment on rumors or speculation.
Titan President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said as much.
He told Tire Business that any time any company reportedly negotiates a deal, Titan's name automatically is thrown into the equation. He declined to say if Titan has been in discussions with Goodyear, other than to say he hadn't seen any newly released information on his company's activities.
When asked if he was interested in buying Goodyear's ag tire division, Mr. Taylor said: “You're always interested in everything. Right now, I've been more interested in trying to build our own (company). I imagine Goodyear, I don't know where all the rumors come from, but I know Goodyear has been working very diligently to try to get their ship right, too.”
Mr. Taylor said Titan's debt currently is at about $165 million to $170 million—an improvement from $262 million at the start of 2004. Its stock price during 2004 increased to $15.10 per share, from $3.10, and Titan posted earnings through three quarters of 2004 totaling $12.4 million. Titan will look at acquiring other businesses if it makes sense, Mr. Taylor said.
“You always look at (acquisitions) and see if they make sense,” he said. “But just to run out today and just go buy some things just to buy them—no. I think what's going to happen is some big boy's gonna come look at us and say, 'Geez, these guys are really lean and mean, and they're really going to start to grow.' And they might look at acquiring us.”