FINDLAY, Ohio (June 18. 2008) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is investing $31 million and taking a minority ownership in a tire manufacturing plant in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The facility will be jointly owned by Cooper, IBSA (a Mexican holding corporation) and Cooperativa TRADOC S.R.L., the employee owners of the CorporaciÃ³n de Occidente facility. Cooper will hold a 38 percent share in the facility.
“This is an important step in the implementation of our strategic plan and our access to cost-competitive sourcing,” said Cooper Chairman, President and CEO Roy Armes. “Securing access to a steady source of supply to supplement the production of our U.S. facilities and meeting the customer's demands in the North American market is critical to our success. Further, this will help us facilitate penetration in the Mexico market with our Cooper brand.”
CorporaciÃ³n de Occidente is the second-largest tire plant in Mexico and currently produces 2.4 million passenger radial tires per year, Cooper said. Expansion plans already are in place to boost that capacity to an estimated 4.6 million by year-end 2010, and to 6.0 million units during 2011. The plant employs 700.
Jose Antonio SuÃ¡rez HernÃ¡ndez, executive director of CorporaciÃ³n de Occidente, described Cooper as a “world class partner” and said the long-term agreement will allow important synergies that will take the plant to a high efficiency level and the ability to become a quality producer for the world market.
In October 2007, Cooper announced a 50-50 joint venture to form a trading company with Nemet International, SA de CV, which is responsible for the marketing, sales and distribution of the Cooper and Pneustone brands in Mexico. This trading company will continue to operate as a separate entity, Cooper said.