Rubber & Plastics News compiled its 10 biggest stories from 2018, and we counted them down in our Dec. 10 print issue. We'll be running them online each workday until the end of the year.
4. Michelin adds Fenner, Camso
One of the rubber industry's biggest companies added two other giants in 2018, which could alter the tire hierarchy in 2019 and beyond.
Michelin first made a play for the industry's 29th largest non-tire company in the world, Fenner P.L.C., for $1.7 billion. The deal, completed in May, allows it to offer a comprehensive portfolio of products to the mining industry. Fenner is the No. 2 worldwide supplier of conveyor belts and also brings a strong engineered products division.
It then doubled down on the off-the-road tire segment, agreeing to acquire Camso in a $1.45 billion deal that could eventually help push it ahead of Bridgestone Corp. as the world's largest tire maker. If approved, the acquisition would allow Michelin to jump into market leadership positions in at least four categories where Michelin hasn't been active—material handling, construction, agriculture and power sport. It also could unlock up to $55 million in synergies by 2021.
Whether or not those synergies come to fruition, or if Camso pushes Michelin over the top to become the world's No. 1 tire maker, remains to be seen.
The firm also made investments at its Granton, Nova Scotia, plant ahead of a 2020 winter tire launch and restarted production at its OTR tire factory in Starr, S.C. But it wasn't all good news for the tire maker as it halted truck tire production at its plant in Ballymena, Ireland, two months ahead of its planned closing. It also intends to close a facility in Dundee, Scotland, by mid-2020.
And if that wasn't enough for the world's second largest tire maker, it will undergo a change at the top as CEO Jean-Dominique Senard will step down at the end of 2018, giving way to Chief Operating Officer Florent Menegaux, who was recommended by the board of directors to take over the top job in March. Senard joined Michelin in 2005 as chief financial officer, taking over as CEO in May 2012.