FINDLAY, Ohio (Oct. 27) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is setting up two joint ventures in China with Shandong Chengshan Tire Co. Ltd. to make passenger and truck tires, with Cooper to be majority owner of each.
Cooper will invest $70 million in the projects, to be known as Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Passenger Tire Co. Ltd. and Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Truck Tire Co. Ltd. Cooper will own 51 percent of the companies, as well as 25 percent of a steel cord factory located adjacent to Shandong Chengshan´s plant in Rongchen City.
Completion of the joint venture agreement is conditional upon Chinese government and regulatory approval, Cooper said, which it expects to happen before year-end.
Rongchen City-based Shandong Chengshan is considered China´s third largest tire maker, with projected sales this year of $500 million, Cooper said. The company makes passenger and light truck radials as well as radial and bias commercial tires primarily under the brand names Chengshan and Austone.
"This is another major step in our Asian strategy," said Thomas A. Dattilo, Cooper chairman, president and CEO. "Chengshan is an excellent and profitable Chinese manufacturer that is already selling a significant number of tires around the world, and especially in China where Cooper has plans to have a leading market share position in the future."
This move would be Cooper´s third manufacturing activity in China. It already sources entry-level passenger car radials and medium truck radials from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. in Hangzhou and is a 50-50 partner with Taiwan´s Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. in a $200 million plant in Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai, that is due on stream next year.