XINGTAI, China (June 27, 2012) — Trelleborg Wheel Systems S.p.A. has inaugurated production of agricultural and forestry tires at the renovated plant in Xingtai it purchased in March 2011 from Maine Industrial Tire L.L.C.
Trelleborg said the investment in Xingtai is part of its continued long-term strategy to grow in markets with favorable potential. Trelleborg did not disclose at this time its investment in the Xingtai project, but it said in March 2011 it was budgeting $15.6 million to acquire and modernize the facility.
In the interim, Trelleborg expanded the size of the manufacturing area 19 percent to 269,000 square feet and modernized the facility to modern specifications. Capacity was more than doubled to 150,000 units a year.
The site produces both radial and bias-ply tires for farming, forestry and agro-industrial applications ranging from 18 to 42 inches in rim diamters. The plant, operating as Trelleborg Wheel Systems Xingtai Ltd., is equipped to produce more than 200 tire sizes, Trelleborg said, providing tires for Chinese farm vehicle makers.
“We believe that China has highly favorable long-term growth opportunities and our strong global platform will be further reinforced by this facility,” Trelleborg A.B. President and CEO Peter Nilsson said at a ceremony marking the plant's inauguration.
“This new production unit continues our commitment to the agricultural sector in China. The manufacturing facility will also strengthen Trelleborg's competitiveness on markets other than the Chinese, by broadening the range and through more efficient production.”
Trelleborg Wheel Systems President Maurizio Vischi said Trelleborg sees “enormous potential” in the agricultural sector in China, where more than half of farming operations are conducted manually and industry mechanization is taking place rapidly.
The inauguration on June 27 was attended by guests from all over the world including representatives from leading tractors manufacturers, along with the Swedish ambassador to China, Lars Fredén, and the Mayor of Xingtai City, Daqun Liu, along with Trelleborg top management.
Trelleborg has other plants in China, in Huizhou, Shanghai, Wuxi, Qingdao and Xingtai, making Trelleborg's polymer-based engineered products and solution. Trelleborg has about 1,500 employees in China and generated sales in 2011 of nearly $170 million.
Wakefield, Mass.-based Maine Industrial Tire continues to operate solid tire production at a portion of the Xingtai plant, operating as Hebei Starbright Tire Co. Ltd. Maine Tire divested the pneumatic tire portion of the plant as pneumatic tires are not part of the firm's core business strategy.