ContiTech ponders sale of sealing unit
HANOVER, Germany-ContiTech A.G. is discussing selling its ContiTech Sealing Systems business unit to a private equity group that owns SG Sealing Ltd., the former SaarGummi automotive profiles and rubber molding company.
The potential buyer, Special Situations Venture Partners Fund, bought control of SaarGummi in 2004 from RAG Saarberg, and earlier this year orchestrated the sale of the firm's Canadian and Mexican assets to GDX Automotive Inc. to focus on its core operations in Europe.
Special Situations is a fund advised by Munich-based Orlando Management GmbH, a spokesman for which said ContiTech ``desperately wants to sell the profiles business.''
Continental A.G., ContiTech's parent, long has struggled to make this unit effective and has made no secret of its willingness to sell the business, which represents only 4 percent of ContiTech's sales.
ContiTech Sealing Systems employs 1,300 at plants in Slovakia, Germany and Spain, and last year posted sales of $94.4 million, a rise of 14 percent over the previous year, Conti said.
Michelin building truck tire capacity
PARIS-Groupe Michelin is expanding capacity for truck tires at its Tours, France, factory, partially by incorporating capacity from a factory in nearby Poitiers, which will be converted to a warehouse.
Michelin will spend $65.3 million through 2007 to expand annual capacity by about 25 percent to more than 1 million units. The investment will focus on high-value products such as super-single and low-profile tires, including the new X-1, a spokesman said.
The project will make Tours the primary source for truck tires in northern and western Europe, the spokesman said, and more than 50 percent of production will be exported from France.
Bridgestone to invest at OTR tire facilities
TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. will invest $155 million through early 2007 at plants in Japan to expand capacity for large radial off-the-road tires used in mining, construction and similar industries.
The project will result in a 20-percent increase in capacity for OTR tires at its Shimonoseki plant by early 2008, Bridgestone said. The project also includes provisions to expand steel cord capacity 5 percent at a plant in Saga and for tire components at its Hofu plant.
Bridgestone said the expansion is in line with growing demand for large OTR tires and comes on top of $1.44 billion the company has budgeted in the past year for capacity enhancements. Included in that investment sum is $130 million to double annual capacity of small radial earthmover tires at the Hofu plant by mid-2006.
Lanxess examining operations at NBR unit
SHANGHAI-Lanxess A.G. is reviewing the operations of its nitrile rubber business to find a way to turn around the unprofitable operation.
The nitrile business has accumulated losses of $240 million over the past 10 years, said Gunther Weymans, global head of the Technical Rubber Products business unit, despite nearly $180 million in investments, principally at the plant in La Wantzenau, France, where 550 are employed.
``Our goal is to make La Wantzenau survive long term and to increase the efficiency of all business processes in order to return to acceptable margins in the NBR business,'' Weymans said recently during inauguration ceremonies at Lanxess' new technical rubber center in Shanghai.
Lanxess management intends to submit a final turnaround concept to the board of directors by the end of August.
Nokian making tires at new Russian plant
VZEVOLOZHSK, Russia-Nokian Tyres P.L.C.'s new plant in Vzevolozhsk has started production only 10 months after breaking ground on the factory.
Nokian is targeting plant production this year of up to 500,000 tires, with first-stage annual capacity of 1.5 million units.
The company already is working on the second phase of the $180 million project, which will boost capacity to 4 million units a year by 2008. Capacity will be expanded gradually, reaching 8 million units by 2016, Nokian said.