FINDLAY, Ohio — Now that the sale of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s share of Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. Ltd. is a given, Cooper is turning its attention to securing alternative sources of radial truck and bus tires to complement the expected off-take production from Chengshan Group Co. Ltd., Cooper Tire Chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes told analysts last week.
Among the options Cooper could consider, Mr. Armes said, include: agreeing with another Chinese supplier; making an acquisition; buying a facility and running it under Cooper's control; or adding capacity to its wholly owned Cooper Kunshan Tire Co. Ltd. operation in Kunshan, China.
“We have the financial wherewithal to take any of those paths, or a combination of those paths,” Mr. Armes said. “We're focused on increasing our business in China because it's a market that's growing strongly in both OE and replacement tires and it's the largest TBR market in the world.
Mr. Armes noted that Cooper Chengshan is Cooper's only source of truck and bus tires, making finding an alternative source for TBR tires a high priority so it has options when its supply agreement with CCT runs out, ostensibly in 2018.
He said Cooper had planned to explore alternative sources with or without its CCT joint venture.