YANTAI, China — Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd. plans to build a fourth factory in China, an $875 million project in Hubei Province, and continues to research locations in Europe and North America for possible expansion.
Yantai-based Linglong plans to break ground in May on the factory — with a capacity of nearly 14.5 million car, truck and industrial tires annually — at a 247-acre site in Jingmen, a city of nearly 3 million residents in central Hubei Province. Construction is expected to take three years.
The plant is designed with annual capacity for 12 million passenger, 2.4 million truck and bus, and 60,000 engineering tires, Linglong said. The plant also will have an annual capacity of 1.5 million inner tubes and flaps as well as for plastic pads.
"The company's production and sales volume…is expected to grow at a 20-percent yearly rate in the future," Linglong said. "Our radial tire facilities have been running at high capacity utilization rate,…but it's hard to meet the demand."
"[The project] will be built in line with smart manufacturing standards," the company said.
Linglong said it expects the new plant to generate nearly $100 million in annual sales and $8 million in earnings at full capacity.
The company has three plants in China — in Liuzhoui, Guangxi Province and Dezhou and Yantai, Shandong Province — as well as one in Rayong, Thailand, that it opened in 2014.
Besides the new site in Jingmen, the company also envisions building one more in China and two overseas, one each in Europe and the U.S.
In Europe, Linglong has been approached by the governments of at least four countries — Belgium, Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovak Republic — about building a plant in their country.
Linglong recently denied a report published by European Rubber Journal that it already has settled on Serbia as the site for its second overseas tire production facility, saying in a published statement, "Everything is under consideration right now."
ERJ reported on Feb. 23 that a source close to the project had identified Serbia as Linglong's chosen location for its first plant in Europe.
Linglong reported recently its sales jumped by nearly one-third this past year over 2016 to more than $2 billion. That scale of revenue would put the Shandong-based company among the 15 largest tire makers worldwide, according to Tire Business' calculations.