TOKYO — Bridgestone Corp. is on a mission to revamp itself, carrying out a series of divestments or plant closures in recent weeks in its synthetic rubber and non-tire rubber businesses that represent as much as $1.25 billion in annual sales.
The moves are part of Bridgestone's ongoing restructuring plan — outlined in the company's Bridgestone 3.0 business plan published in early 2021 — that will result in a more tire-focused enterprise in the coming years.
The Tokyo-based company's restructuring effort will involve four stages that include both investments and divestitures that ultimately should yield fixed-cost savings of about $480 million by year-end 2023.
In the past few months, Bridgestone has reached deals to sell its anti-vibration business, exit the tennis goods business and sell a synthetic rubber business in China and marked three diversified chemical products plants for sale.
More specifically, the company:
- Sold Bridgestone (Huizhou) Synthetic Rubber Co. (BSRC), a synthetic rubber business with one production plant in Huizhou, China, and $61 million in annual sales, to Taipei, Taiwan-based materials and chemicals supplier LCY Corp.;
- Agreed to sell its anti-vibration components business to China's Anhui Zhonding Holding Group. The unit comprises eight plants in five countries and an R&D complex in Japan, and generates over $500 million in annual sales;
- Agreed to sell its chemical products solutions business, which collectively generated roughly $500 million in annual revenue, to Endeavour United (EU) II Investment Business Ltd Partnership.
In addition, Bridgestone, the world's No. 2 tire maker according to Tire Business' annual ranking of tire companies worldwide, also plans to phase out its conveyor belting business — a unit with two plants, in Japan and Thailand, and an R&D complex in Japan, which generates $100 million in annual sales — and its activities in the tennis sector (balls and rackets).
These latest moves come eight months after Bridgestone sold it Firestone Building Products subsidiary, a $1.8 billion per year business whose sale netted Bridgestone $3.4 billion that it intends to use to rebuild its earning power as it transitions to sustainable solutions company.
At the same time, Bridgestone made a couple of strategic investments and budgeted more than $235 million toward enhancements of tire operations in Brazil, Japan and the U.S.
Among the investments is Otraco International Pty. Ltd., an Australia-based off-the-road (OTR) tire management specialist enterprise that offers a portfolio of OTR tire management solutions that track tires across the full lifecycle.
On the tire manufacturing side, Bridgestone has earmarked $140 million to modernize and expand capacity of car and light truck tires by 20% at a plant in Camacari, Brazil, and $94 million to upgrade production capabilities at an OTR tire plant in Shimonoseki, Japan.