Falken: 'Sumitomo-Ohtsu deal a great thing'

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"We'll have better support in production and product development," says Richard Smallwood, Falken Tire Corp.'s vice president of sales and marketing, when Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. absorbs its Ohtsu Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. subsidiary this coming summer.

"For us, it's a great thing," Smallwood told earlier today.

Ohtsu owns Falken Tire and supplies the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based company with all of its tires.

Sumitomo announced last week that it will absorb Ohtsu through an equity exchange deal in mid-2003; it also plans to absorb Dunlop Japan, which it owns 100%, around the same time.

Sumitomo also has revised its year-end 2002 sales projections from eight million yen announced last August to between six and seven million yen.

The company is reportedly blaming the drop on decreases in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s stock value. (Sumitomo owns nearly 1.5% of Goodyear, while Goodyear owns 10% of Sumitomo.)

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