MAGOG, QuebecOff-road tire and rubber track specialist Camoplast Solideal Inc.maker of Solideal industrial and OTR tireshas changed its name to Camso Ltd. and will go to market as the Road Free company.
The launch of Camso highlights the success our company has achieved in just a few years, said Camso Chairman and CEO Pierre Marcouiller, who claims the firm is the world's second-largest specialized player in the production of tires, tracks and track systems for off-the-road vehicles used in materials handling, construction, agriculture and powersports.
The company over time will phase out the use of the Solideal and Camoplast brand names in favor of the Camso brand, according to Benoît Bessette, vice president, marketing and communications.
The announcement of Camso as the firm's new name coincides with a move to consolidate its global executive and research/development staff at a new headquarters near Magog. Most of the firm's subsidiary companies are also adopting the Camso name.
For Camso, Road Free means achieving the firm's commitments, being industrious and acting authentically in its relations with its customers and suppliers, the company said.
Camso has grown 10-fold in sales in the past seven years to more than $1 billion in annual revenue, based on a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.
To put its position in perspective, Camso said it puts 100 percent of its effort on 11 percent of the global tire and track market: the off-the-road market.
The company declined, however, to provide a breakdown of its sales by business unit or geographic region.
One might think that producing on-road and off-road tires are one and the same, but this simply isn't the case, Mr. Marcouiller said.
This has driven Camso to constantly reinvent itself. Our people take the time to understand the multitude of constraints and challenges that machine operators experience.
The company has more than 7,500 employees in 27 countries at 24 manufacturing plantsincluding tire plants in Argentina, Brazil, China and Sri Lankafour research and development centers and dozens of distribution offices in more than 100 countries. Its U.S. headquarters and primary tire distribution center are in Charlotte, N.C.
Camso is building a tire plant in Bihn Duong, Vietnamnear Ho Chi Minh Citywhich it will use predominantly to supply fork lift tires to China, where the company said it expects half of all fork lift tires to be sold by 2025. It declined to quantify the plant's investment, capacity, size or employment.
The company's tire business focuses on a range of off-road industries in two predominant categoriesmaterials-handling and light constructionwith pneumatic, solid resilient and solid press-on tires. The largest tire offered is a 30-inch rim diameter backhoe loader fitment.
Camso lists Bobcat Co., Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co., JCB Construction Equipment and Kubota Tractor Corp. among its OE tire customers.
The new headquarters comprise two structures, Mr. Bessette said: a 40,000-sq.-ft. office and 20,000-sq.-ft. R&D center, on a campus setting with about 200 employees. Camso declined to disclose its investment in the facility. Some of the employees moved to Magog from a separate office in nearby Sherbrooke, Québec.
The company traces its roots to 1982 when a pair of entrepreneurs formed Camoplast and acquired the track business of Bombardier Ltd., focusing on snowmobile track systems.
Mr. Marcouiller led a takeover of the company in 2000, supported by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, an institutional fund manager that represents primarily public and private pension and insurance funds in Québec.
The Caisse, the self-proclaimed leading private equity investor in Canada, is still a major shareholder in the firm, with a 28.3-percent ownership stake.
Under Mr. Marcouiller's direction, Camoplast embarked on a growth-by-acquisition strategy, including the purchase in September 2010 of Solideal Group, with manufacturing sites in Europe, North America and Asia, and more than 100 distribution and service locations throughout the world.
Since then the firm has continued to grow by acquisition. Among recent purchases are:
c June 2015The ATV/UTV track systems business of Les Fabrications TJD;
c May 2015Eastwood Tyres of Aukland, New Zealand;
c August 2014Rodaco Argentina S.A., an industrial tire maker with plants in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a distribution center in São Paulo, Brazil;
c February 2014Gulimsa Comercial S.L., a Spanish distributor of tires and tracks in the materials-handling and construction industries;
c January 2014Cherokee Industrial Tire, a Lexington, S.C., industrial tire/wheel distributor with 13 distribution facilities in the U.S. Southeast; and
c June 2012Assets of Forklift Tire of Florida, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based forklift/OTR tire distributor.
To reach this reporter: bdavis @crain.com; 330-865-6145; Twitter: @reifenmensch