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Is Goodyear selling its domestic farm tire division?

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According to Tyres & Accessories, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is in discussions about the sale of its agricultural tire division in North America. The magazine said Titan International is a potential buyer.

"It is said that both parties are close to an agreement. As far as Europe is concerned, the management has suggested it is willing to keep this business," said the report.

Rumors about Goodyear possibly getting out of the farm/ag tire business have been circulating for a while.

"The farm tire business at Goodyear has been in a loss position for some time, and (Chairman, CEO and President) Bob Keegan has publicly stated that Goodyear's future is going to be in consumer tires and commercial truck tires," says tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig, a managing director with KeyBanc Capital Markets, a division of McDonald Investments Inc.

"So the losses, combined with farm tires not being in Goodyear’s long-term plans, gives credence to the thought that Goodyear would consider selling the business."

"We are aware of the reports but do not comment on rumors or speculation," said a Goodyear spokesman when contacted by www.moderntiredealer.com.

Goodyear manufactures rear farm tires at its Freeport, Ill., plant, which has the capacity to produce 10,000 tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer's 2005 Facts Issue. Titan's Des Moines, Iowa, farm and agricultural plant can manufacture 8,000 tires a day.

Goodyear's stock was selling for $14.52 a share at the close of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Friday, Jan. 21. That compares to a 52-week high and low of $15.54 and $7.06, respectively.

Titan's stock was selling for $13.85 a share on the NYSE. That compares to a 52-week high and low of $15.77 and $3.45.

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