NOKIAN, Finland (Sept. 29) — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has bought University Wholesalers Inc. of Colchester, Vt., to strengthen its wholesale distribution capacity and logistics in the strategically important North American winter tire market.
University Wholesalers, with distribution centers in Schenectedy, N.Y., and Colchester, has been a key Nokian distributor in the past, Nokian said. The Finnish tire maker bought University Wholesalers and its affiliate University Wholesalers of New York from owner Robert Hepp and management. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
University Wholesalers — a Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Starz distributor in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and a Nokian distributor for New England, New York and Pennsylvania — generated $40 million in sales last year with 40 employees. The firm´s sales and profits will be consolidated into Nokian Tyres´ figures starting with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, Nokian said.
"The acquisition enables us to strengthen our sales organization and to ensure the increase of our winter tire sales in the North American snow belt area where we already have gained a strong foothold," said Nokian Tyres CEO and President Kim Gran in a prepared statement.
Nokian´s sales in North America jumped 57.7 percent last year to $62 million on higher unit sales and a better product mix.