LAS VEGAS (Nov. 7) — Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. has opened a Latin America sales office in Miami to support its drive to increase business throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Hercules tabbed Luis Torres, formerly export manager for Tire Distributor Inc. prior to Hercules´ buying it in July, to be managing director of the Miami office. Together Hercules and TDI operate 135,000 square feet of warehouse space in south Florida that will support the company´s export sales initiative.
Hercules did not quantify its sales expectations for the business, but Hercules CEO Larry Seawell said TDI generated about $30 million in business in south Florida and Latin America last year and that the expanded export drive is part of Hercules´ projected 9- to 15-percent growth in fiscal 2007 to $475 million to $500 million.
The sales expansion comes on the heels of 11-percent growth in fiscal 2006, Seawell noted, reflecting Hercules´ strength in an otherwise down market. Sales in North America represent about 82 percent of the firm´s revenues, he said.
Seawell said adding Hercules´ brands and the international sales expertise of its export division to TDI´s existing distribution strengths throughout Latin America will allow the company to expand its sales in the region markedly.
In addition, Hercules told distributors attending its annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas it has budgeted $10 million through 2009 to buy new molds for new and upgraded tire lines it has in the pipeline.
Also looking forward, Hercules told dealers it will be increasing its supply relationships with its key Chinese partners — South China Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., GITI Tire/Anhui Tire, Shandong Linglong Rubber Co. Ltd., and Qingdao Sailun Radial Tyre Co. Ltd. — while also continuing to scout China and Asia for new sources of supply.