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Goodyear prepares to complete purchase of Sava Tires

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has announced it will acquire the remaining 20% of Sava Tires d.o.o., a joint venture tire manufacturing company in Kranj, Slovenia.

The move accomplishes two Goodyear goals by further strengthening its position in the rapidly expanding central and eastern European market, and consolidating its low-cost sourcing capabilities.

Goodyear will pay its joint venture partner, Sava d.d., close to $52 million for the remaining interest. The transaction is expected to be completed in June.

Goodyear's stake in Sava Tires is held by its Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe affiliate (Goodyear owns 75% of Goodyear Dunlop). Goodyear acquired its original majority stake in the Sava Tires joint venture in 1998.

Sava Tires manufactured more than seven million

passenger, light truck and truck tires at its Kranj, Slovenia, plant in 2003. It exported

more than 80% of its production to 70 countries, although the majority of its

exports went to other European countries.

"Goodyear has invested more than $100 million in modernization at Sava Tires and expects the company to continue to make rapid progress," says Jarro Kaplan, president of Goodyear's Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East

business unit.

Goodyear has three additional tire manufacturing plants in eastern Europe. Its facility in Debica, Poland, manufactures more than 15 million tires a year. Turkish plants in Izmit and Adapazari produce seven million tires a year between them.

In 2004, Goodyear says it expects its European-based tire plants to manufacture more than 84 million tires. Close to 33.6 million of them, about 40%, will be produced in "low-cost facilities."

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