News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 12, 2021

Bridgestone reaches deal to divest Firestone Building Products

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 1:09 am

Bridgestone Americas Inc. has reached an agreement to divest its Firestone Building Products unit, which produces commercial roofing and building envelope solutions. France-based LafargeHolcim Ltd. will acquire the business for $3.4 billion. LafargeHolcim is a leading global supplier of building materials, including cement and ready-mix concrete as well as roofing, with a focus on sustainable building solutions.

Jan Jenisch, LafargeHolcim CEO, said in a statement, “With Firestone Building Products we are strengthening our biggest market, the US, while also building a global growth and innovation platform for the company.”

January 11, 2021

Fire consumes Hexpol Compounding site in Tennessee

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 11:17 pm

Hexpol Compounding’s rubber compounding plant in Jonesborough, Tennessee caught fire in the early morning of January 7, causing workers to evacuate and sending one person to the hospital. Thick smoke from the fire was visible for hours as firefighters fought for more than 24 hours to bring the blaze under control.

In a statement, Hexpol said,

Jonesborough, TN, 1/7/20 – At approximately 1:30 am CST on January 7th, HEXPOL’s Jonesborough rubber compounding facility, located in Jonesborough, TN, had a significant fire in the facility.

Emergency protocols were immediately activated, and 22 employees were evacuated from the facility.  One employee is being treated for injuries.  At this time, there are no fatalities.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and HEXPOL is fully cooperating with governmental officials.

Local authorities have begun investigations into the cause of the fire.

August 20, 2020

Continental earns praise for EcoRubber garden hose

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 10:43 pm

Continental A.G. has earned high marks from leading polymer and rubber experts for its EcoRubber garden hose that uses sugar cane ethylene rather than petroleum-based, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent.

“Continental is consistently evaluating renewable oils and reclaimed or recycled materials that will reduce our reliance on petroleum-based products while also reducing emissions and landfill of end-of-life rubber products. There were few EPDM rubber grades available with bio-renewable content, so we saw an opportunity….[I]t was our goal to increase the overall amount of renewable material in garden hose construction while maintaining hose performance.”

Andreas Gerstenberger, Executive Vice President at Continental and head of the Industrial Fluid Solutions business unit

August 14, 2020

Continental invests $4 million to expand Indiana site

Filed under: Auto, General, Rubber, Tires, Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:48 pm

Rubber & Plastic News reports that Continental A.G. is planning a $4 million expansion of their Auburn, Indiana facility, transforming the facility into a research, development and technology hub for its ContiTech Vibration Control business.

The $4 million investment will not only upgrade the facility, it will bring more than 45 new jobs to northeastern Indiana, according a joint news release issued by Continental and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. It also will allow ContiTech to consolidate its vibration control technical center operations, currently in Michigan and Canada.

The Indiana facility should be fully operational by 2024.

Despite drop in sales, Apollo sees strong recovery

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 12:45 pm

Apollo Tyres Ltd. suffered a 34 percent drop in sales in the quarter ended June 30, although the company reported a strong recovery throughout the month of June, according to Rubber & Plastic News.

“While the first half of the first quarter was almost a complete washout, our performance has been excellent since the markets opened up, especially in the replacement market,” Apollo Chairman Onkar Kanwar said.

Apollo also reports its European operations results were better than the industry average, despite COVID-related challenges.

June 8, 2020

Goodyear forecasts 50% drop in tire volumes in Q2

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 12:42 am

In a 424B filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission dated May 13, 2020, Goodyear Tire & Rubber provided an overview of its actions in response to COVID-19 and a view of the tire industry’s performance in 2020.

We currently believe that our largest volume declines will occur in the second quarter of 2020, with volumes down approximately 50% compared to the second quarter of 2019. Overhead absorption will also continue to be adversely affected by reduced plant production during the second quarter of 2020. We are currently planning for our production to be down almost 25 million units versus the second quarter of 2019 in order to reflect expected demand and to reduce inventory.

In addition, our other tire-related businesses are also being significantly affected by the weakening economic environment. Traffic and volume at our retail locations is low and the sharp drop in business and leisure travel is adversely impacting our aviation business. Our chemicals business is also feeling the effects of the decline in tire production. In total, the year-over-year earnings decline in our other tire-related businesses is expected to be about $150 million during the second quarter of 2020.

For the full year of 2020, we now expect our raw material costs will be a benefit of $50 million to $100 million compared to 2019, excluding transactional foreign currency and raw material cost saving measures. Natural and synthetic rubber prices and other commodity prices historically have been volatile, and this estimate could change significantly based on fluctuations in the cost of these and other key raw materials. We are continuing to focus on price and product mix, to substitute lower cost materials where possible, to work to identify additional substitution opportunities, to reduce the amount of material required in each tire, and to pursue alternative raw materials.

May 11, 2020

US Ford factories preparing to restart

Filed under: Auto, Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber — Notch @ 9:13 pm

On May 18, Ford Motor Co. will resume most North American vehicle production following the lifting of restrictions by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, with parts depots resuming operations on May 1.

The Flat Rock Assembly Plant in southeast Michigan and Oakville Assembly Complex in Canada will remain closed until May 25.

May 5, 2020

Enviro completes share issue to Michelin

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 10:54 pm

Scandinavian Enviro Systems AV (Enviro) has strengthened its financial position by completing a directed share issue to Michelin.  The investment was part of a long-term strategic partnership that provides Enviro with significantly improved conditions for the global establishment of recycling plants.  A final agreement is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

Bridgestone Iowa plant confirms 8 employees test positive for COVID-19

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 10:10 pm

Bridgestone Americas Inc.’s agricultural tire plant in Des Moines confirms 8 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.  The company is addressing the outbreak using protocols established before Bridgestone resumed production on April 13.

Enterprise Crisis Management Team has been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and consulting federal, state and local officials to coordinate risk mitigation and business continuity strategies.

Bridgestone said the plant will remain in production but will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust as necessary.

April 28, 2020

Partial production resumes at one Apollo plant in India

Filed under: Coronavirus/COVID-19, General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 12:43 pm

Apollo Tyres Ltd. has resumed partial production at its factory in Perambra, India after government directives exempted its operations from lockdowns, according to a stock exchange filing.

The tire maker idled production at other Indian facilities in Kalamassery, Limda, Gujarat and Chennaiother amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, and will provide updates on the restart of production in these facilities as decisions are made.

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