PARIS (Feb. 16, 2010)—Group Michelin has halted natural rubber harvesting at its Mato Grosso, Brazil, plantation and sold the land to a local company that plans to shift the property to multi-crop farming.
Michelin said it decided to cease NR harvesting at Mato Grosso, which has been in operation since the late 1970s, because the local climate has kept the per-tree yield below the levels achieved at other plantations in Brazil and other countries.
“Further expansion of the tree farming operations would not be profitable,” Michelin said.
Terms of the sale, which was disclosed in material related to the firm's fiscal 2009 results, were not disclosed.
Michelin has been involved in NR cultivation in the Brazilian rainforest since the early 1980s, when it purchased a rubber plantation that the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. had planted in the early 1950s.
The Mato Grosso enterprise, also known as Plantacoes E. Michelin Ltda., covered an area of more than 100,000 acres, according to Michelin, and generated 15,000 to 20,000 metric tons of dry rubber a year.
The company continues to operate a smaller plantation—about 22,000 acres—near Brazil's Atlantic coast. It will continue to develop its operations in the areas of agriculture and industrial research and technical assistance to rubber producers.