Sumitomo to absorb Ohtsu and Dunlop Japan units tomorrow

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Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) will officially absorb its Ohtsu Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and Dunlop Japan subsidiaries tomorrow.

SRI currently owns 51% of Ohtsu and will aquire the rest by trading nearly $70 million in equities.

It already owns 100% of Dunlop Japan.

Ohtsu owns and manufactures tires for Falken Tire Corp.

"For us, (the deal) is a good thing," says Falken Tire Vice President of Sales and Marketing Richard Smallwood. "It will give us more (plants) to pull production from.We'll be much stronger."

SRI will focus on the Dunlop brand in Asia and the Falken brand in North America, according to Smallwood.

However, Falken Tire will retain autonomy when it comes to the sales, marketing and distribution of its brand, he says.

"Sumitomo is very happy with what we're doing. They are extremely happy with the management we have here."

SRI's absorption of Ohtsu and Dunlop Japan was originally announced last December.

Treadways Corp. has exclusive rights to the Sumitomo brand in the United States.

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