Current Issue

Ohio city approves Kenda's tech center

Comments Email

GREEN, Ohio—Green City Council approved legislation on Jan. 13 that would clear the way for American Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. to establish its operations within the city.

The resolution said Kenda plans to hire about 45 permanent full-time employees with an annual payroll of about $4 million.

In the resolution, City Council authorized the execution of the Municipal Economic Development Grant Agreement because Kenda “is qualified by its financial responsibility and business experience to preserve employment opportunities and to improve the economic climate of the City of Green.”

Kenda declined to comment on the resolution. The firm currently operates a research and development facility in Tallmadge, Ohio, through its Martin Wheel subsidiary. The operation includes eight full-time employees.

Under the grant agreement, Kenda must create 42 permanent full-time employees with a payroll of about $4 million by the end of 2019 and maintain those levels through 2021. The resolution outlined employment and payroll targets through the next four tax years, and they are:

• 2015—17 full-time employees at a $1.54 million payroll investment;

• 2016—22 full-time employees at a $2 million payroll investment;

• 2017—28 full-time employees at a $2.55 million payroll investment; and

• 2018—42 full-time employees at a $3.48 million payroll investment.

The City of Green will reimburse 50 percent of Kenda's payroll withholding taxes if it meets the job creation and payroll investment targets outlined in the resolution.

In a 2014 interview, Tom Williams, vice president of engineering at Kenda, said expansion is on the horizon for the Akron area.

“We're not going to stay small in Akron. We're going to put more capability in place,” Williams said. “The only question is whether we want to do it jointly with Martin Wheel or independently.”

American Kenda is a subsidiary of Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. and focuses on bicycle, industrial product, wheelchair and motorcycle tires. The firm has been branching out into the passenger car radial, light truck radial, and truck and bus radial tire markets in the last few years, which is the primary reason for the company's added investment in R&D worldwide.

Headquartered in Yuanlin, Taiwan, Kenda reported tire sales of about $1.1 billion in 2013, placing it 28th in Rubber & Plastics News' 2014 Global Tire Report, which ranks the world's largest tire manufacturers based on tire sales.