AKRON—While there was a plethora of mergers and acquisitions in the tire and automotive industry's retail, wholesale and commercial sectors, a number of manufacturers didn't escape suitors with fat wallets either.
Without a doubt, the overriding industrial action this past year was China National Chemical Corp.'s (ChemChina) successful takeover of Italy's Pirelli & C. S.p.A.
ChemChina, through its Marco Polo Industrial Holding S.p.A. investment vehicle, concluded its share purchasing actions in late October, at which time the Borsa Italiana S.p.A. stock exchange suspended trading in Pirelli shares.
At the tendered price of 15 euros (roughly $17) per share, ChemChina's deal was valued at slightly more than $7 billion.
The takeover allows the Chinese company to move forward with plans to take the Milan-based tire maker private and trigger a series of moves by ChemChina to restructure Pirelli. Those moves primarily involve the integration of Pirelli's industrial tire business—medium truck, agricultural and industrial tires—with those of Fengshen Tyre Co. Ltd., owner and producer of the Aeolus and Windpower brands, Camfin said.
Pirelli has scheduled a shareholders' meeting for Feb. 15 to finalize details of the merger.
In other action:
Sweden's Trelleborg A.B. is buying CGS Holding
a.s., parent of Czech agricultural and industrial tire maker Mitas a.s., in a deal that will establish Trelleborg as a global leader in agricultural tires and reinforce its leading position in industrial tires.
The firms' combined tire and wheel revenue will exceed $1 billion, making it a top 30 global tire maker and perhaps the largest ag tire producer. The proposed acquisition, for about $1.25 billion, is subject to approvals from relevant authorities and expected to be com-pleted in the first half of 2016,
With manufacturing capacities in Central and Eastern Europe, the U.S. and Mexico, CGS “highly complements” Trelleborg's manufacturing footprint and capabilities and is expected to “generate significant synergies and cross-selling opportunities,” according to Trelleborg President and CEO Peter Nilsson.
Trelleborg followed up the CGS/Mitas deal in December with a smaller one—buying Standard Tyres Group, a privately owned Brazil-based industrial tire manufacturer, to strengthen its presence in industrial tires in South America and reinforce its market position globally. Based in Lorena, Brazil, Standard Tyres has one factory in Feira de Santana and posted revenue of about $11.5 million in 2014.
JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. bought a tire and tube plant in Haridwar, India, from Kesoram Industries Ltd. for about $33 million. The factory, in Laksar-Haridwar, Uttaranchal Prov-ince, opened in 2009 and is rated at 4.4 million truck and two-wheeler tires per year.
Specialty tire and wheel producer Carlstar Group L.L.C. acquired Marathon Industries Inc., a supplier of solid polyurethane tires, flat-free tires and pneumatic tires for small industrial uses.
Carlstar—the former Carlisle Transportation Products—will change Marathon's name to Marastar L.L.C. but will keep the 20-plus-year-old firm's headquarters in Kent, Wash.
Industrial tire specialist Camoplast Solideal Inc.—since renamed Camso Ltd.—acquired Argentinian industrial tire maker Rodaco Argentina
S.A. in February to improve its capacity to make and distribute tires for the materials-handling industry in South America.
Porto Allegre, Argentina-based Rodaco manufactures a wide range of industrial and solid tires at plants in Porto Alegre and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operates a distribution center in São Paulo.
Bridgestone Americas bought TireConnect Systems, a Canadian software company that has developed an online tire sales tool to link retailers to wholesalers and provide consumer e-commerce capabilities as well.
The acquisition, which had been expected to close by mid- to late November, will allow Bridgestone, its dealer network and distributors to meet the needs of today's digitally minded consumers more effectively by providing a fully integrated tire-buying experience from online to in-store, Bridgestone said.
Group Michelin acquired Internet sales companies Black Circles Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Allopneus S.A.S. of Aix-en-Provence, France, to accelerate its strategy to be more innovative in retailing.
Michelin paid $75.5 million for Black Circles, which generated $31 million in revenue in 2013, and $64 million for a 40-percent share of Allopneus S.A.S.