News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 27, 2012

Yokohama highlights trends in the US tire market

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 7:00 am

Mike McNulty at R&P News has posted an interesting interview with two of Yokohama Tire’s top people in the US: Rick Phillips, director of the Yokohama’s commercial sales, and Fred Koplin, director of marketing communications. Among the points

* In commercial tires (mainly light to heavy commercial truck tires), Yokohama “have literally sold everything that we are able to build.”
* Tiremakers are entering 2012 with very little truck tire inventory, similar to the situation in 2011.
* Truck tire demand is expected to continue to outstrip supply through at least mid-year 2012, with demand especially tight in the OEM segment.
* Raw material, transportation, labor and associated costs have risen faster than tire price increases, implying future price hikes.
* Yokohama recently expanded at Salem, VA, and is expanding worldwide in Russia and the Philippines.
* Product focus is shifting to higher-end tires.
* Areas of the world where most growth for tires will occur include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the United States.

Yes, you read that last item correctly. Maybe it’s time to change the BRIC countries to BRICUS?

Cooper, union reach agreement at Texarkana

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:36 am

On Thursday, Cooper Tire & Rubber announced that United Steelworkers Local 752L overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year labor agreement at the Company’s Texarkana, Ark., plant. The agreement, which affects approximately 1,500 union members, received a 1,006 to 141 endorsement as reported shortly after voting concluded at 9:00 p.m. EST.

Representatives from both the company and the Union expressed their appreciation for the high level of professionalism and efficiency that extended beyond the negotiating teams to the entire workforce at the Texarkana plant. The parties are equally consistent in their optimism for the future of the Texarkana facility and the ability of the plant employees to be even more productive under the terms of the new contract. In addition to wage and benefit changes which will be implemented over the course of the four-year accord, the company plans additional investment in the plant, which was applauded by both salaried and hourly employees.

January 26, 2012

Titan expanding at Union City

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 9:25 am

Titan Tire plans to create 300 jobs by year’s end at its Union City, Tenn., plant at the location of the former Goodyear Tire & Rubber facility.

Titan Tire chairman Bill Campbell told the Union City Daily Messenger that the company will use the local plant to produce and redistribute materials to other Titan Tire plants, including “utilizing a process that squeezes rubber onto fabric (nylon and polyester) and blends rubber and steel strands that will be used as tire belts for Titan Tire.”

Titan Tire purchased the Goodyear plant for $9 million last September after it shut down earlier in the year.

Pirelli tire data present mixed results by region, sector

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 8:57 am

Pirelli’s Tyre Market Watch data for December 2011 show mixed results by region. NAFTA car and light truck tire sales volumes were up solidly in OE markets but down in replacement. NAFTA’s truck tire sales were up very strongly in OE markets (+44% in December yoy and +55% in December ytd), while truck tire replacement sales were down slightly in December yoy but up 3% in December ytd. Note: yoy refers to Dec 2011 versus Dec 2010, while ytd refers to Jan to Dec 2011 versus Jan to Dec 2010.

In Europe, car and light truck tire sales volumes were mixed as solid ytd figures were offset by a weak December. OE car and light truck tire sales were up 3% in December ytd but down 9% in December yoy. Replacement car and light truck tire sales were up 3% by December ytd but down 17% in December yoy. European OE truck tire sales were up 32% in December ytd, offset by an 8% decline in December yoy. Truck tire replacement markets were down 1% in December ytd, with December yoy sales down 25%.

For the Mercosur region, OE car and light truck tire sales were up 2% in December ytd but down 7% in December yoy, while replacement car and light truck tire sales were up 1% in December ytd and up 9% in December yoy. Mercosur OE truck tire sales were up 11% in December ytd and up 28% in December yoy, while replacement truck tire sales were down 1% in December ytd and down 17% in December yoy.

Mitas produces first tire in Iowa

Filed under: Carbon Black, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 7:41 am

Farm and industrial tyre manufacturer Mitas Tires North America Inc. has cured its first test tyre at its new plant in Charles City, Iowa. Mitas is part of CGS Holding, a Czech company.

“Mitas can make tires in Iowa,” said Pavel Charvat, president and plant director, said in a press release. “This test tire is the first tire produced by Mitas on the American continent. Now, Mitas is tweaking the machinery, streamlining processes and training workers for the Charles City plant to be ready for serial production in April.” The exact date of the official opening of the plant and start of serial production will be announced in due course.

Mitas has earmarked $52 million for the Charles City investment. The factory capacity is slated to reach production of more than 12,000 metric tons of radial agricultural and industrial tires by 2013.

Here is the full press release.

January 24, 2012

Cabot introduces Transfinity masterbatches

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:44 pm

On January 9, 2012, Cabot Corp. announced the launch of Transfinity™ elastomer composites for vibration isolation components in the mining, defense, automotive and aerospace industries. Transfinity products, which are produced by the Cabot Elastomer Composites business, are composites made from elastomer latex, which is a liquid form of rubber, and reinforcing particles, such as carbon black.

Conti raises truck tire prices in US

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:33 pm

From R&P News comes word that Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. plans to raise prices Feb. 15 on all Continental-, General- and Ameri*Steel-brand truck tires in the U.S. by up to 9 percent. Conti cited the “continued escalation” of raw materials and energy costs associated with the production of radial truck tires for the need to raise prices. The increase will affect all replacement sales channels in the U.S., according to the Fort Mill-based tire maker.

The company last raised prices in the U.S. on truck tires in July 2011, by 11 percent. The latest hike is the fourth price increase in the past 13 months.

Cooper reaches tentative agreement at Texarkana

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:21 pm

From the Toledo Blade comes word that Cooper Tire & Rubber has reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents its Texarkana, Arkansas tire plant, a union official in Texarkana said Friday morning.

David Beard, a spokesman for United Steel Workers Local 752L, said the two sides reached the tentative agreement late Thursday night. The previous contract between Cooper and Local 752 expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Mr. Beard said the proposal would be presented to the membership Wednesday. The vote is expected to take place Thursday.

Local 752L represents about 1,500 hourly workers.

Cooper’s plant in Findlay, Ohio has been on lock-out since just after Thanksgiving.

OMNOVA raises prices for SB latex

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:15 pm

On January 23, 2012, OMNOVA Solutions (Fairlawn, OH) announced a price increase of $0.12 per dry pound on styrene butadiene (SB) latex for carpet and related markets, effective February 18, 2012. This increase is driven by the escalation in raw material costs utilized to manufacture SB latex products and is in addition to previously announced increases.

Cabot completes sale of Supermetals business

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:12 pm

On January 23, 2012, Cabot Corporation announced it had closed on the sale of its Supermetals Business to Global Advanced Metals.

“We are pleased to announce that we have completed the sale of the Supermetals business to Global Advanced Metals,” said Patrick Prevost, Cabot president and chief executive officer. “This divestiture is an important step in Cabot’s transformation to becoming a leader in specialty chemicals and performance materials. The sale of the tantalum business at this attractive value will improve the stability of our earnings and will allow us to focus on existing and new growth initiatives as we remain committed to achieving our target of adjusted earnings per share of $4.50 in 2014.”

The sale resulted in an initial cash payment of $175 million. Additional cash consideration will total a minimum of $275 million, consisting of the remaining $215 million purchase price, a minimum of $11 million of payments based on the future performance of the business and approximately $50 million for the sale of excess inventory, to be paid within a two-year period. The transaction is estimated to result in a pre-tax gain of approximately $330 million, approximately $300 million of which is expected to be recorded during the second quarter of fiscal 2012 with the remainder recorded over the next two years. The Company expects to receive after-tax proceeds of approximately $430 million over the two year period. The assets involved in the transaction include facilities in Boyertown, Pa and Aizuwakamatsu, Japan. Cabot will maintain its mining operation in Manitoba, Canada where the company mines cesium for its Specialty Fluids Business and tantalum.

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