|County lands ‘Titan’ of an industry |
|Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 8:31 pm |
| By KEVIN BOWDEN |
Obion County is back in the tire business.
A deal has been struck to sell the local Goodyear tire plant to Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International Inc., one of the country’s largest manufacturers of off-road tires.
“I can confirm the sale, but we are not disclosing the terms. Any other details will need to come from Titan,” Goodyear corporate spokesman Amy Brei informed The Messenger this morning. She is the manager of manufacturing communications at Goodyear’s corporate headquarters in Akron, Ohio.
Today’s news comes four months to the day that the local Goodyear tire plant officially shut down.
“It’s official,” County Mayor Benny McGuire told The Messenger Thursday evening. “As of midnight (Thursday) the plant will change hands and will be owned by Titan Tire.”
Titan Tire is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, with tire manufacturing facilities located there, in Freeport, Ill., and in Bryan, Ohio.
“Titan is the only major manufacturer that focuses on off-highway tire production and our manufacturing capability is highly diversified,” the company’s website states. “Our plants are equipped to produce tires in sizes ranging in wheel diameter from six to 42 inches. Applications include agricultural, construction, industrial and all-terrain vehicles.”
According to the company’s website, Titan Tire entered the tire market in 1993 and has “evolved into a leading global supplier of complete wheel and tire assemblies for off-highway vehicles.”
Titan International Inc., is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TWI.
There has been considerable speculation in recent weeks concerning the sale of the local tire plant. News of the plant’s sale spread quickly through the community Thursday night and into this morning.
An obviously excited McGuire told The Messenger he was notified of the sale shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
“This is really great news for Obion County,” McGuire said today. “We in Obion County look foward to working with Titan Tire and they will be a welcome asset to our community. I am sure everyone in our county echoes my comments. We feel fortunate in Obion County to have secured an established company such as Titan Tire in such a short period of time. In my position as mayor, I will work with Titan Tire to ensure the transition process to Obion County will go smooth and productive. I have not been given all the facts and figures yet as to how many jobs this event will produce, but in the near future I hope that information will be provided by Titan Tire. I really feel that Obion County has been given an early Christmas present.”
“Titan buying the Goodyear plant is good news, but just how good that news is depends on how many Tennesseans they put to work,” state Sen. Roy Herron told The Messenger today. “I want Titan to know we’ll do everything we can to help them grow their company and our jobs. My top three priorities will continue to be jobs, jobs and jobs.
“I have advocated repeatedly with Gov. (Bill) Haslam and his administration to help our region and help put workers back in jobs. This Titan news is just one of many steps needed for our citizens. We’ve got to recruit more companies, help local companies grow, better educate our children and workforce, finish I-69 and the four-laning of 45W and U.S. 79, complete and get companies into the Cates Landing Port Industrial Park and complete the West Tennessee Jobs Megasite,”
“I am pleased that Titan Tire will purchase the Goodyear plant,” Congressman Stephen Fincher told The Messenger early today. “West Tennessee is a great place to call home and an exceptional place to do business. I will assist in any way I can.”
State Rep. Bill Sanderson of Kenton was excited about the news of Titan’s arrival and the benefit to the region.
“On behalf of the state of Tennessee, I welcome Titan Tires to Obion County,” he said today. “This will be a great opportunity for all parties. We have a workforce that is job ready, a facility that was built to manufacture tires and a community that will embrace Titan Tires.
“I want to thank all those who never gave up hope and those who kept working to make this happen.”
There are numerous questions still unanswered about specific details of the sale, including the price, when the plant will be reopened and how many workers will be hired. There is speculation from several local sources that the plant may not begin any kind of production until after mid-February.
Maurice M. Taylor is chairman and CEO of Titan International, Inc.
It was in December 2010 that Titan Tire announced it had entered into agreements with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to buy the company’s European and Latin American farm tire businesses, according to a Titan Tire news release.
The agreements between Titan Tire and Goodyear included a licensing agreement to allow Titan to manufacture and sell Goodyear-brand farm tires in Europe, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, Latin America and North America for about $130 million, according to the news release.
The company did a similar deal with Goodyear when Titan bought the assets of Goodyear’s North American farm tire business, which included a plant in Freeport, Ill., in December 2005, according to the Titan Tire news release.
The Latin American portion of the Titan Tire transaction included Goodyear’s Sao Paulo, Brazil, manufacturing plant, property, equipment and inventories and the deal was expected to have closed earlier this year. Published in The Messenger 11.11.11