NOKIA, Finland (Jan. 21)—Nokian Tyres P.L.C., responding to European stock market speculation about possible new investments in Russia, said it is looking at ways to expand its presence there, but no final decisions have been made.
The statement came in response to European press reports that the Finnish tire maker would take a 10-percent stake in Amtel Group, Russia's second largest tire maker.
Nokian also stated that "no merger discussions, but a further development of cooperation" with Amtel is being evaluated.
Nokian and Amtel previously announced plans to build a 1.2-million tire-per-year plant on a greenfield site in Russia and are 50:50 partners in a tire manufacturing venture, involving Amtel's plants in Kirov and Voronezh, Russia, and Belaya Tserkov, Ukraine.
The two firms pledged $25 million in investments in the Amtel factories to upgrade them for production of up to 2 million passenger and light truck tires to Nokian specifications in 2004.