Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., South Korea's Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., Japan's Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., Taiwan's Maxxis International/Cheng Shin Rubber and China's Zhongce Rubber Group make up the rest of the Top 10.
There were four acquisitions/mergers of consequence in the past year that will affect future rankings.
China National Chemical Corp.'s successful bid to take over Pirelli has yet to manifest any measurable changes in Pirelli's financial reporting, but the firms recently disclosed that Aeolus Tyre Co. Ltd. has agreed to buy ChemChina's two truck and bus tire subsidiaries and a 10-percent stake in Pirelli Industrial, the Italian tire maker's commercial tire business unit that's being spun off.
At the same time, the deal calls for Aeolus to sell an 80-percent stake in its passenger car tire unit to Pirelli. The truck tire aspect of the deal involves ChemChina's Double Happiness Tyre Industrial in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, with 2.1 million unit annual capacity, and Qingdao Yellowsea Rubber in Qingdao, Shandong Province, with 1.2 million unit annual capacity.
Combining Pirelli's truck and farm tire assets with those of ChemChina's is expected to create an entity that Pirelli estimated would be the fourth largest commercial tire business globally, with estimated annual revenue of about $3 billion, including $1.6 billion or so that would be subtracted from Pirelli's accounts.
At this point, the parties haven't disclosed how much revenue Pirelli will gain from absorbing some consumer tire assets from ChemChina, but reducing Pirelli's consumer tire-related annual sales by a billion dollars or more would put Sumitomo Rubber and Hanook Tire in position to challenge for fifth and sixth.
The combined ChemChina/Pirelli truck tire business would claim a spot in the Top 20.
Also, Yokohama's recently completed acquisition of ATC Tire Ltd. will boost Yokohama's annual sales in years to come by upwards of $500 million, closing the gap between it and Hankook for the No. 7 ranking.
In addition, Cooper Tire's pending acquisition of a 65-percent stake in China's Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Co. Ltd. eventually would generate a few hundred million in revenue, based on the entity's projected output of up to 3 million truck tires a year.
Finally, Trelleborg A.B.'s $1.25 billion acquisition of Mitas A.S.'s parent CGS Holding A.S. will result in an entity with annual tire-related sales of more than $800 million — good for a spot among the top 30 tire makers.
New to the rankings this year are five companies from China, including four from Shandong:
- Shandong Yongtai Group of Dongying, China — No. 32 with sales of $750.7 million;
- Shandong Yinbao Tire Group of Shandong, China — No. 51 with sales of $381.9 million;
- Shandong Rongsheng Tyre Co. Ltd. of Rongsheng, China — No. 52 with sales of $370.3 million;
- Shandong Huitong Tyre Co. Ltd. of Laiwu, China — No. 68 with sales of $164.8 million; and
- Yanchang Petroleum Group Rubber Co. Ltd. of Shaanxi, China — No. 74 with sales of $137.9 million.
Dropping out of the ranking this year were: Shandong Hengyu Tire Co. Ltd. of Dongying City, China; Shanxi Suanxi Tyre Co. Ltd. of Qingxi, China; Beijing Shouchuang Tire Co. Ltd. of Beijing; Vee Rubber Corp. Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao Yellowsea Rubber Co. Ltd. of Qingdao, China.
All were supplanted by companies with larger sales in 2015.
There are 29 Chinese companies in the 2015 ranking — including five among the top 20 — along with 10 from India, five each from Taiwan and the U.S., four from Japan, three each from Russia and South Korea, two each from Italy and Turkey and one each from Argentina, Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Average operating earnings ratio among the 20 largest tire makers was 12.4 percent, essentially unchanged from 2014.
Seven of the 21 publicly traded companies that Tire Business monitors for this comparison reported lower operating income in 2015 vs. 2014.
Titan International reported an operating loss for the second straight year.
Nokian Tyres P.L.C. and BRISA-Bridgestone were the most profitable, percentage-wise, with 21.8- and 19.5-percent operating ratios.
The average net income ratio for the group of 20 was 5.9 percent, a 1.5-percentage-point drop from 2014. Seven of the top 21 firms registered lower net income last year vs. 2014 and two — Titan and Kumho Tire — were in the red.
The average sales per employee for the dozen publicly traded companies that provided employment data was $212,515, down roughly 11.5 percent from 2014.
Nokian Tyres had the highest sales per employee at $338,068, ahead of at $338,068; Cooper Tire at $326,011; BRISA-Bridgestone at $304,653; Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. at $297,361; and Hankook Tire at $268,682.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6145. Twitter: @reifenmensch