BRUSSELS — Bridgestone Corp. is "making progress" with plans to withdraw from tire manufacturing activities in Russia, the Japanese tire maker told European Rubber Journal recently.
"The company is still firmly committed to exit," Bridgestone noted in a written statement to ERJ, adding that a deal was expected "to close in due course" without commenting directly on media reports in Europe suggesting that S8 Capital — which recently acquired Continental A.G.'s Russian operations, — was also purchasing Bridgestone's assets.
Continental sold its tires and automotive-parts manufacturing operation in Kaluga to S8 Capital on May 2, followed several days later by Michelin Group's announcing the sale of its Russia-based companies, Michelin Russia Tyre Manufacturing Co. L.L.C. and Camso CIS L.L.C. — to Russian tire distributor Power International Tires L.L.C.
Bridgestone declared in November 2020 its intention to sell its assets in Russia, citing the lingering "uncertainties" of doing business there and untenable supply-line challenges.
Bridgestone's primary asset is its 7-year-old tire car and light truck tire plant located on a 200-acre plot in Ulyanovsk, a city in the Ural mountains roughly 525 miles west of Moscow. Most of Bridgestone's 1,000 Russian employees are located there.
If completed, Bridgestone's divestment would make it the fourth major international tire maker to exit Russia.
Nokian Tyres P.L.C. was the first to withdraw, selling its assets there — including a tire plant in Vsevolozhsk — in March to P.J.S.C. Tatneft after six months of negotiations and deliberations.