QUINCY, Ill. (March 1)—Titan International Inc. plans on permanently closing one of its two idle tire plants and opening the other as part of a joint venture with an Asian tire manufacturer, according to company President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr.
The Quincy-based tire and wheel company is looking to sell tire-building equipment at its Natchez, Miss., facility, possible to firms in China or India, Taylor said. The Natchez site—which produced farm and construction tires—was mothballed in 2001 because of reduced demand caused by the economic recession and never reopened.
Titan also mothballed the Brownsville, Texas, factory beginning with a temporary shutdown last May. But there is potential for it to reopen sometime in 2004 if a joint venture with an unnamed Asian firm goes forward, though a deal is not complete, Taylor said. It could take at least three months to finalize a deal, which would include at least a partial sale of Titan's equipment in Brownsville, he said.
The plant would manufacture all-terrain vehicle, lawn and garden and other specialty tires as it did before the shutdown, Taylor said.
Titan values the equipment at Natchez and Brownsville at $32.9 million, according to its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Titan's factory in Des Moines, Iowa, is producing all the company's in-house tires. The facility is increasing its capacity to the $200 million range in 2004, Taylor said in the company's 2003 year-end financial report released Feb. 27.
Titan also has put up for sale idled wheel-making plants in Greenwood, S.C., and Walcott, Iowa. Titan's long-term debt stood at $248.4 million at year-end.