MTPL Shores Up Ag, OTR Tire Distribution in North America
Mahansaria Tyres Private Ltd. (MTPL) may be a relatively small player in the North American ag and OTR tire markets, but it intends to grow quickly.
The Mumbai, India-based company’s majority acquisition of Stow, Ohio-based Tyres International will help supercharge its expansion, according to MTPL Managing Director Yogesh Mahansaria.
Announced last June, the deal helps solidify MTPL’s North American distribution. (Tyres International has two distribution centers - a recently expanded, 100,000-square-foot facility in Ohio and a slightly smaller warehouse in Sparks, Nev.)
The transaction also benefits Tyres International. The distributor has exclusive access to MTPL’s Ascenso ag and OTR brand tires - direct from the factory.
A bigger presence
MTPL acquired 85% of Tyres International, which was founded in 1970 as an importer of off-shore tires.
Longtime owner Marty Bezbatchenko controls the rest of the company’s shares and will continue to run its daily operations, along with his son, Mike.
MTPL - which sells tires in more than 50 countries - wanted a more extensive presence in North America as part of a bigger initiative to broaden its reach, says Mahansaria, who once was CEO and co-owner of Alliance Tire Groupe. (Last year, MTPL acquired a 60% stake in a Germany-based distributor that sells tires across north and central Europe.)
“Tyres International is a very well-known and well-respected name,” says Mahansaria. “It has always been known as a good, ethical, reputable business. And I’ve known Marty” for decades, “so there’s a lot of comfort."
MTPL builds a wide range of ag and constriction tires - all under the Ascenso brand name - at its manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India.
The facility, which represents a $100 million investment, has a capacity of one million units per year, according to Mahansaria.
“Production is ramping up step by step. We expect to be at full utilization within 18 months or so. And we’re thinking about doubling the capacity of the plant.”
Ascenso “is not a known brand,” he explains. “That was one of the drivers for us to invest in distribution because that is, in my opinion, the fastest way to build a brand.
“Fortunately, the ag and OTR markets have been very good from a demand perspective. It’s always easier to introduce a brand when the market is seeking supply.”
The Ascenso line is “comprehensive,” with radial and bias-ply ag tire offerings ranging from 12 inches to 50 inches in rim diameter, says Mahansaria.
Its construction tire lineup addresses popular applications like loaders, backhoes, telehandlers and more and is designed to fit rims up to 25 inches in diameter.
“We are committed to adding 150 to 200 new products every year for the next several years” - both new tires and new SKUs, says Mahansaria.
“We have a lot of experience doing that. We have a 25-person research and development team at our factory.”
A natural fit
Mahansaria says Ascenso is positioned as a “value brand.” And he’s quick to define what he means by “value. It’s not a budget brand. It’s not a cheap brand.
"I want to make sure our end users understand that a ‘value brand’ delivers value for money. And I think that’s where the real opportunity lies.
“Generally, based on what we’ve seen in the ag and construction tire sectors, the growing trend has been value brands,” he says.
“Farmers and contractors are business people. They’re buying tires to help them do their jobs. So if they can get a good, quality tire at a competitive price, they’re going to try it.
“We clearly see the market moving more and more toward value brands over the coming years. We think there’s a place for someone like us.”
Bezbatchenko is excited about MTPL’s investment in his company.
“We have support from (their) factory. I have a product line” that’s exclusive to Tyres International.
“We’ve also been able to keep our personnel,” he adds. “And that was important to me.”