Ever the aggressor, Titan's Taylor buys Denman assets

Bob Ulrich
Posted on May 20, 2010

There is nobody in the tire industry like Morry Taylor, chairman and CEO of Titan International Inc. He is one part white collar worker, one part blue collar worker, and one part showman.

In my opinion, he is the most quotable executive in the tire industry. He's never been a big fan of attorneys, and don't get him started on foreign-made products imported into the United States.

"The Chinese government controls Los Angeles ports," he said in a 2005 advertisement promoting his tires and wheels and condemning unfair trade. "Those of you worried about security, give me a break! The container with 12-plus people inside came from a Chinese port. So much for security."

I can't wait to hear what he has to say about swooping in at the last minute to purchase assets from Denman Tire Corp. (The Denman Web site, www.denmantire.com, classifies Denman as a corporation; the United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Ohio, based on the company's Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, refers to Denman as an LLC).

Since my previous blog, "Not all words ring true in sad end to Denman Tire," Titan has out-manuevered bidders and would-be bidders for parts of Denman. According to the "Business Journal Daily" in Northeast, Ohio, Titan subsidiary Titan Tire Corp. successfully bid $4.4 million for Denman's "patents, drawings, molds, recipes and other intellectual property."

More will come out soon; as a public company, Titan will be required to shed light on the purchase. Modern Tire Dealer will keep you posted.

It is the latest in a series of aggressive moves for which Taylor is known. He purchased manufacturing facilities from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Freeport, Ill.) and the former Continental Tire North America Inc. (Bryan, Ohio) in 2006.

He has introduced numerous tires into the specialty market since then -- new ag, OTR and skidsteer tire lines in 2010 alone. Titan is in the process of testing the first 73.5-inch "super giant" OTR tire, and may be able to put it in the field during the third quarter.

Titan also made a non-binding offer for the Goodyear Dunlop Tires France farm tire factory in Amiens, France. Standard acquisition approval requirements still have to be met before ownership changes hands.

Now he has the rights to the Denman name and molds. My guess is he will keep the brand alive, which I think, given its 92-year history, is a good thing.

"In the farm and the OTR business, whether it's Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, even Conti, it's the tail of the dog in these big, multi-national companies," he told me in Las Vegas, Nev., during an interview at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show. "Their passion is not in the farm and OTR business."

Taylor's is. He knows it's a cyclical business, with ups and downs more severe than in other tire manufacturing segments. After record sales and income in 2008, Titan lost $24.6 million last year. But he does, indeed, have a passion. I like that, too.

"We're going to give the farmer and construction worker better tires and better wheels," he told me four years ago. "And we're going to have fun doing it. And we're going to make the tires in America."

Related Topics: Denman Tire, Farm/ag, Morry Taylor, OTR

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Don

     | about 8 years ago

    I certainly hope Taylor has deep pockets, and can keep these tires rolling off the american production Line. he is keeping americans working, keep the american dollar here in america. I take my hat off to mr Taylor and I thank him for keeping alive products which were invented, designed, produced and sold right here at home. We need more CEO's like him with the salvation of american production of goods and services. Too much is being produced off shore, and I know its hard to compete, but we can with a quality product, better service and a big stamp saying "MADE IN THE USA"

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