Yokohama to expand Philippines operation
TOKYO-Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. will invest $16.7 million through year-end to expand capacity at its Pampanga, Philippines, plant by 25 percent and upgrade it to produce passenger and sport-utility tires in rim diameters greater than 16 inches.
Demand for 16-inch and larger performance tires is growing internationally, Yokohama said. By 2004 the larger sizes will account for about 30 percent of the Pampanga facility's annual output of 2.5 million units.
The expansion will entail the construction of unspecified new facilities on the company's 1.78 million-sq.-ft. property at the Clark Special Economic Zone, formerly the U.S.-operated Clark Air Base. The firm didn't say how the project will affect employment, which stands at 560.
The Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc. plant has been making tires since January 1998. About 90 percent of its output is exported, principally to Europe, the Middle East and other Southeast Asian nations.
Federal's first-quarter sales climb 16.3 percent
TAIPEI, Taiwan-Federal Corp. reported a 16.3-percent increase in sales to $26.4 million for the first quarter, based on strong demand both domestically and from export markets.
The strong quarterly performance included a single-month sales record in March of $10.7 million, a 21.8-percent jump over March 2002, according to President Jamie Ma. The company did not disclose any earnings data. ``We are confident that Federal is very well positioned to again deliver strong results,'' Ma said in a prepared statement. ``We will continue to introduce new products for the market, and we have no doubt that 2003 will be another year of growth for Federal.''
To support its growth, Federal has initiated production of Hero- and Maxon-brand passenger tires at its newest plant in Jiang-Xi, China. Federal plans to make incremental investments to expand that facility's production capacity to meet the booming demand in China and elsewhere.
L&T to make tire curing presses for Kobe Steel
MUMBAI, India-Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro Ltd. will manufacture hydraulic tire curing presses for Japanese engineering group Kobe Steel Ltd. under a new agreement between the companies.
Mumbai-based L&T said it will make the Cure-S1 series presses at a facility operated by its Heavy Engineering business in Chennai, India. The Chennai plant already manufactures curing presses and tire building machines for tire makers worldwide, said L&T, which claims to be India's largest engineering, construction and cement conglomerate.
Kobe Steel's Curex-S1 is a newly developed oil hydraulic press, which combines a simple structure for easy installation and trouble-free running with features such as booster cylinders for quick pressurizing times, L&T said. Tire companies worldwide should derive cost benefits from this venture, according to E.S. Kumar, L&T vice president for industrial machinery.
Woodbridge adding polyurethane foam facility
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario-Woodbridge Group will set up a plant in Blenheim, Ontario, to make molded polyurethane foam for automotive head restraints, bolsters and armrests. Production is scheduled to begin in August and will support new business awards, according to the company.
The manufacturing process ``will be based on advanced foam-in-place technology,'' the Canadian group said, without disclosing the size, capacity, employment or investment.
The move is the latest in a series of new investments by automotive and consumer goods maker Woodbridge. These include the addition of five foam manufacturing facilities in Japan, with Japanese joint venture partner Inoac Corp., and a new lamination facility in Saltillo, Mexico.
Woodbridge also recently acquired full control of Woodbridge Henderson Australia Group-buying out Austrim Nylex, its partner in the Australian joint venture-and established an automotive foam business in Thailand with Inoac and Bangkok Foam, based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Conti factory hits radial tire production mark
HANOVER, Germany-Continental A.G.'s plant in Korbach, Germany, has produced its 150 millionth radial car tire-a 195/65 R15 ContiPremiumContact.
The Korbach factory was founded in 1907 as a branch of Mitteldeutsche Gummiwarenfabrik Louis Peter A.G. Production at that time included bicycle tires, solid tires and technical products made of rubber. In 1929, Louis Peter A.G. merged with Continental in Hanover.
Radial tire production started in 1965 when daily capacity stood at 12,500 car tires. Capacity has more than doubled since then to 28,000 car tires, 2,400 industrial tires and 5,300 motorcycle and bicycle tires along with nearly 81 miles of hose.
The plant employs 2,955 and generates about $160 million in sales annually.
Michelin buys bigger stake of Stomil-Olsztyn
CLERMONT-FERRAND, France-Groupe Michelin now owns nearly 99 percent of the stock in its Stomil-Olsztyn S.A. subsidiary after acquiring 28.5 percent of shares in the Polish tire maker that it did not already own.
Michelin, through its Compagnie Financiere Michelin unit in Switzerland, paid $95.2 million for the ownership stake. The positive response to the offer-which was about twice the value of a previous offer-should end hostilities between the French group and minority shareholders in Stomil-Olsztyn.
Over the last three years, Polish investors have accused Michelin of running Stomil-Olsztyn for its own benefit and at their expense. Michelin has strongly denied these claims, which have involved several legal actions.