Now we know the valuation. Now we know the prices. And now we wait some more for resolution.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. late yesterday announced that its Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. (CCT) plant in Shandong province, China, was valued at approximately $440 million. The valuation came from an independent firm agreed on by Cooper and its joint venture partner Chengshan Group Co.
Now Chengshan Group has 45 days – until around Oct. 10 – to decide whether to buy out Cooper’s 65% share of the joint venture tire plant for an estimated $286 million, or sell its 35% to Cooper for an estimated $154 million, or leave things as they are and continue the troubled joint venture. If Chengshan Group decides to sell, Cooper will then have 45 days – until around Nov. 24 – to determine if it wants to buy out its partner.
It was a lengthy wildcat labor disruption at the joint venture tire plant last year – effectively cutting production of Cooper, Mastercraft and Roadmaster tires destined for the North American market – that helped derail Apollo Tyres’ run at acquiring Cooper. The labor strife also impacted Cooper’s ability to pull together necessary financial information to make its third quarter and year-end 2013 financial reports on schedule.
In January, after Cooper ended any deal with Apollo, the Findlay, Ohio-tiremaker signed a deal with Chengshan Group and the CCT labor union to determine the future of the Cooper Chengshan Tire Co. plant.
“We look forward to final resolution of the ownership of CCT as Cooper continues to pursue our growth plans for China,” said Cooper chairman, CEO and president Roy Armes. “Regardless of who owns CCT, Cooper is committed to continuing to build on the strong foundation we have in place in China by expanding our brand awareness and distribution network, and by growing profitable sales in the region through the original equipment channel and replacement tire market.”