TOKYO (Dec. 21) — Bridgestone Corp. plans to build a plant for large off-the-road tires in Japan over the coming two-and-a-half years at a cost of $240 million to support growing demand for the tires used in mining and construction.
Bridgestone will build the plant on a 215-acre site adjacent to its existing Shimonoseki plant in Fukuoka Prefecture. The plant, due on stream in the second half of 2009, will have a daily capacity of 30 metric tons of compounded rubber at full capacity by 2010, Bridgestone said.
The tire maker has budgeted an additional $29.6 million to expand capacity for steel cord at its Saga, Japan, plant to support the new OTR tire capacity.
The new project is in addition to $155 million the company is spending to boost OTR tire capacity 20 percent at the 36-year-old Shimonoseki plant by early 2008. Together these two projects will boost Bridgestone's capacity by 2010 for large OTR tires by 40 percent over the current level.
In addition, Bridgestone spent $130 million through mid-2006 to double capacity for small radial earthmover tires at its Hofu, Japan, plant.
Putting the new plant adjacent to Shimonoseki will allow Bridgestone to use existing technologies required in the development and production of the ultralarge radial tires, Bridgestone said.
The company has requested building permits and expects to conclude an agreement in the first half of 2007 following a period of negotiation regarding project details with city officials and approval by the city council.
The new plant will be the company's 52nd in 23 nations.