FINDLAY, Ohio—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. officials said a strike at its joint venture plant in Rongcheng, China, is not expected to have an impact on Apollo Tyres Ltd.'s deal to buy the Findlay-based tire maker for $2.5 billion.
More than 5,000 workers at the joint venture facility have been on strike to protest the Apollo takeover of Cooper, according to published reports. Cooper owns 65 percent of the venture, with China's Chengshan Group holding the rest.
China's Xinsua state news agency said union leaders were trying to block the transaction from taking place because they don't believe Apollo can repay the debt it will take on to finance the acquisition. That in turn could put the workers' jobs and pay in jeopardy.
Cooper said in a statement that its other facilities in China and throughout the world continue to operate as normal and that it is in communication with customers regarding product supply.
"The company is continuing to work toward getting the plant operating as soon as possible," Cooper said. "The transaction is on track and expected to close by the end of this year. This issue is not expected to have an impact on the pending merger."
The firm also said the acquisition would benefit all at Cooper—including employees at Rongcheng—because it combines firms with complementary brands, geographic presence and technological expertise.
The Rongcheng plant opened in 1976 and has estimated capacity to produce 30,000 passenger, light truck, truck/bus, agricultural and off-the-road tires a day.