AKRON (June 7, 2012)—Goodyear has purchased complete ownership of its Nippon Giant Tire Co. Ltd. joint venture in Tatsuno, Japan, and plans to invest $250 million to expand capacity at the off-the-road tire operation.
The capital spending will enable Nippon Giant to make a full line of 57-inch tires in the short term and eventually 63-inch tires, said Dan Smytka, president of Goodyear's Asia Pacific region.
“The time is right for us to increase our presence in OTR in Asia Pacific,” Smytka said. “We à will continue to build on the strong momentum accelerated by this expansion.”
Goodyear acquired Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.'s 30-percent stake in the business, and Mitsubishi Corp.'s 5-percent interest. The price of the acquisition wasn't divulged.
Toyo said it decided to divest its holding to concentrate its resources “towards growth and strategic markets.” Toyo said the sale isn't expected to have a material impact on its consolidated earnings for the current period.
The upgrades will increase the plant's capabilities with new manufacturing technologies and processes, Goodyear said. The expanded facility is expected to be fully operational in early 2014 and boost employment at the 50-year-old operation by about 400.
Goodyear did not disclose the plant's capacity. Output at the site has been estimated in the past at 100 units daily.
Goodyear said the expansion will support growth in the company's Asia Pacific OTR business, primarily in Australia, which is one of the world's largest markets for such tires.
The company also produces OTR tires at plants in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Luxembourg, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa and Turkey. It makes 63-inch radials at its plant in Topeka, Kan.