Contract vote tomorrow will decide sale of Goodyear farm tire unit to Titan

Dec. 20, 2005

Titan International Inc.'s acquisition of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s farm tire division will depend on a ratification vote held tomorrow at Goodyear's farm tire plant in Freeport, Ill., a Titan spokesperson has confirmed.

Ratification would complete Titan International Inc.'s purchase of Goodyear's farm tire division.

According to Goodyear's current contract with the Steelworkers, Titan, as a potential buyer, must first forge a new labor agreement with the union before it can buy the plant.

In late November, it was announced that the local and Titan had reached a tentative agreement regarding the sale of the plant.

The Steelworkers' international office has already approved the deal, which is valued at $100 million.

A high-ranking Titan official told several weeks ago that Titan had expected the transaction to go through by the end of 2005.

Titan stands to gain ownership of the Freeport plant, plus control of the Goodyear and Kelly farm tire brands.

The Goodyear brand enjoys 40% of the original equipment radial rear farm tire market and 30% of the radial rear replacement market, according to Modern Tire Dealer research.

It enjoys 23% of the OE bias rear farm tire market and 14% of the replacement bias rear farm tire market.

In the small farm tire brand market, the Goodyear label has 35% share at OE and 16.5% share at the replacement level.

The Kelly brand has 1.5% of the radial rear market, 3.5% of the bias rear market and 7% of the small farm tire market -- all replacement, no OE.

Modern Tire Dealer research shows that at the OE level, the Titan brand currently enjoys 7.5% of the radial rear brand market, 24% of the bias rear brand market and 26.5% of the small farm tire market.

At the replacement level, Titan has 9.5% of the radial rear brand market, 16% of the bias rear brand market and 13.5% of the small farm tire market.

Titan entered into a definitive agreement to buy Goodyear's ag tire division in February 2005.