NEW YORK (April 10, 2009)—Eurotire Inc., a joint U.S.-Ukrainian private venture, will start turning out radial OTR tires in the coming months at a plant in Drobeta, Romania, after completing a $300 million renovation of the former Rotras S.A. factory.
In business since 2002, Eurotire bought the 27-year-old plant in 2007 for about $50 million and has spent the past two years gutting the 1.2 million-sq.-ft. factory of its outdated bias-ply manufacturing equipment.
In its place the company is installing radial building machinery, according to Richard Schuelke, vice president of global sales for New York-based Eurotire.
Eurotire's Ukrainian backers also are involved in oil and gas in that Eastern European nation, formerly part of the Confederation of Independent States. They even have invested in rubber plantations in the Far East to ensure a reliable supply of natural rubber.
The venture took wing when the investors took over the former Soviet Institute of Heavy Tire Research in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. They spent $50 million acquiring and upgrading that facility, which has capacity for bias-ply OTR tires, Schuelke said.
The radial plant in Drobeta is engineered for 25,000 radial OTR tires a year, with sizes ranging from 24- to 57-inch rim diameters initially. Capacity for 63-inch radials should be on stream next year, Schuelke said at the recent Tire Industry Association OTR Conference in San Antonio.