Taking a look at the ranking of the top rubber product makers for 2019, both in North America and globally, showed that last year exhibited a bit of a lull. Of course, the numbers likely will look tame when compared to final 2020 financials that will result from this pandemic-plagued year.
The names at the top of the charts were familiar, with Bridgestone Americas Inc. again No. 1 on Rubber & Plastics News annual ranking of the top rubber goods firms in North America, and Continental A.G. retaining the top spot on the World Top 50 ranking of non-tire rubber product producers.
On the North American list, Bridgestone stayed on top with an estimated $10.7 billion in sales on the continent, down from $10.9 billion a year earlier. Michelin North America Inc. again was second with $9.97 billion, up 9.6 percent from 2018. Michelin did get a boost by having a full year's worth of revenue from its May 2018 purchase of Fenner P.L.C. for $1.73 billion
The rest of the top five remained the same. Goodyear stayed at No. 3 with an estimated $6.98 billion in North American sales, followed by Continental with $5.01 billion and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. at $2.28 billion.
Rounding out the top 10 were Parker-Hannifin Corp., up two spots to No. 6 at $1.9 billion; Hankook Tire America Corp., also up two positions to No. 7 with $1.89 billion; Toyo Tire (USA) Corp., down one to No. 8 at $1.82 billion; Yokohama Tire Corp., up two spots to No. 9 with $1.6 billion; and Cooper Standard Automotive Inc., down four positions to No. 10, with $1.56 billion.
Only five of the top 10 posted increased North American revenues for 2019, and just 20 of the top 50 had higher sales for the year.
There were 16 companies that made the billion-dollar club, one more than 2019. The newcomer to the list was Trelleborg North America, which saw its North American revenues jump more than 20 percent, giving it $1.04 billion in sales on the continent.
Deals definitely made an impact on the rankings for 2019, while other transactions also will help shake up the players in 2021 and beyond.
Besides the Michelin-Fenner purchase, Parker-Hannifin moved up with its May 2019 acquisition of Lord Corp. Both a maker of end rubber goods and materials, Lord itself disclosed early in 2019 that its sales had topped $1 billion for the first time in 2018, shortly before its sale to Parker-Hannifin was revealed. Parker benefited from seven months of having Lord in its business in 2019, allowing it to become the top firm on the rankings to derive all its rubber-related revenues from non-tire applications; Bridgestone, Michelin and Continental all have significant non-tire rubber operations, but get the lion's share from tire sales.
Tenneco Inc. had a full year's worth of results from its October 2018 $5.4 billion purchase of Federal-Mogul, allowing it to jump 14 spots to No. 19 on the North American chart and 19 positions to No. 12 on the World Non-Tire Top 50. Having a larger top line, however, hasn't benefited Tenneco's bottom line to this point. For 2018, the company posted a net loss of $220 million and, thus far, business conditions have prevented it from carrying through on its original post-acquisition plan of splitting the company into two separate firms.
Cooper Standard is one company that will see its rubber product sales drop as the result of a couple of completed or pending divestitures. First, Conti purchased Cooper Standard's AVS business effective April 1, 2019, and just this past May agreed to sell its European rubber fluid transfer and specialty sealing business to S.E. & Co.
Looking ahead, another pending deal that will impact the rankings next year and beyond is Eaton Corp. P.L.C.'s plan—disclosed in early 2020—to sell its hydraulics business to Denmark's Danfoss A/S for $3.3 billion. Most of Eaton's rubber product revenues are tied to the hydraulics unit, with its hydraulic and industrial hose products a key part of division. Eaton, however, will retain its rubber golf grip business.
Newcomers to the North American Top 50 included Nokian Tyres Inc., which debuted this year at No. 38 as it opened a tire plant in Tennessee. Firms must have a manufacturing base in North America to be eligible for the ranking.
Two other European firms also made the rankings for the first time, with ElringKlinger A.G. coming in at No. 42 and Austria's Semperit Group at No. 49. Nishikawa Cooper returned to the list at No. 39, as RPN was able to acquire financial results for 2019.
Besides Lord and Federal-Mogul, Boge Rubber & Plastics and HBD/Thermoid Inc. also dropped off, Boge because it is now owned by a Chinese firm that doesn't report its results separately, and HBD/Thermoid because revenue totals couldn't be obtained for the firm.
There also wasn't much shuffling at the top of the World Top 50 rankings for non-tire rubber goods producers. The top four remained constant, and the top 10 firms all were the same, though there was some shuffling of positions for Nos. 5-10.
Continental once again reigned with its ContiTech business posting $6.48 billion of non-tire rubber product sales, edging out No. 2 Freudenberg Group at $6.36 billion. Hutchinson S.A., part of the Total Fina Group, remained No. 3 at $4.83 billion, while Sumitomo Riko Co. Ltd. stayed No. 4 with $3.89 billion.
Rounding out the top 10 were: Bridgestone, up two spots to No. 5 at $3.24 billion; Gates Industrial Corp. P.L.C., the highest U.S. manufacturer on the list, stayed steady at No. 6 with $3.09 billion; Cooper Standard was down two spots to No. 7 at $2.95 billion; Parker-Hannifin up one position to No. 8 at $2.92 billion; NOK Inc. down one spot to No. 9, less than $4 million behind Parker; and Trelleborg A.B. stayed at No. 10 with $2.86 billion.
Nine of the top 10 firms, with the exception of Parker, had lower sales for 2019, as did 12 of the top 15 on the list.
With its Federal-Mogul purchase, Tenneco climbed to No. 12, with estimated global rubber product sales of $1.75 billion. Having a full year of Fenner sales allowed Michelin to take a big step forward, landing at No. 26 with an estimated $1 billion in non-tire revenues for the year.
There were 13 countries represented on the global list, with the U.S. boasting 15 entries, one more than Japan. Other countries with multiple companies in the top 50 included Germany with five, France with three, and Sweden, Switzerland, China and Malaysia with two each.