QINGDAO, China — Chinese tire maker Sailun Group Co. Ltd. has selected Cambodia as the site for its next tire factory, a $181 million investment for a passenger/light truck tire plant with annual capacity of 5 million units.
The new plant will be Sailun's fifth factory worldwide and second outside of China.
The investment sum will cover construction costs and the working capital required to complete the project, Sailun said. The factory is expected to be operational within 24 months of groundbreaking.
The plant will be the first in Cambodia owned/operated by an international tire maker.
Sailun, the No. 17 tire maker worldwide with fiscal 2019 sales of $2 billion, said the investment is part of its global vision plan to "continue delivering top quality production and performance with highly efficient capabilities."
Announcement of the new plant comes just months after Sailun commissioned a major expansion of truck tire capacity at its Shenyang, China, factory and disclosed plans to expand capacities for car, truck and OTR tires at its 7-year-old plant in Vietnam.
The Shenyang expansion expended truck/bus tire capacity there by 3.3 million units.
The Vietnam project is budgeted at $462 million over three years and will boost annual capacity at the plant by 3 million passenger tires, 1 million truck/bus tires and 50,000 metric tons of OTR tires, Sailun said, in response to rising demand from customers in the U.S. and Europe.
Sailun also is a partner in Vietnam with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in A.C.T.R. Ltd., a joint venture truck/bus tire producer. Sailun owns 65% of the venture, which came on stream in late 2020.
The Vietnam joint venture is an extension of Cooper's relationship with Sailun Group, which also involves an offtake production agreement covering production of Cooper's Roadmaster-brand truck/bus tires at Sailun's existing Vietnam plant and Sailun's purchase in late 2018 of a 35% stake in Cooper's Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Co. Ltd. (GRT) joint venture in Qingdao.
The distribution of Sailun-brand products in North America is coordinated by Sailun Tire Americas in Toronto. They are distributed in the U.S. by TBC Corp. through its National Tire Wholesale distribution arm.