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More on Pensler’s Move on CTNA OTR Plant

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) Pensler Capital Corp, owner of Denman Tire Corp., indeed signed a letter of intent to purchase Continental Tire North America’s (CTNA) OTR tyre plant in Bryan, Ohio, for an estimated $75 million to $80 million.

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The Dortmund-based Roesler Group, which had previously attempted to by the plant, has now backed away from the deal. Despite Roesler’s initial interest and negotiations with CTNA and the local trade union, it has apparently been outbid by Pensler Capital.

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“I am a little bit amused,” Roesler Group managing director Paul Roesler Jr. told Tyres  & Accessories about the latest developments, adding: “We are pleased we are no longer first in line.” In spite of his upbeat interpretation of the situation, Roesler had to concede that the other suitor simply outbid Roesler in the race to buy Continental’s Bryan facility.

When Roesler came onto the scene, the Bryan facility commanded $55 million to $60 million as the basis for purchase negotiations. But then last year when demand for OTR tyres skyrocketed, the value of the plant increased. In light of this, the Roesler Group is said to have negotiated a deal with Continental boss Manfred Wennemer to pay an extra $10 million to secure the facility.

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However, Pensler is believed to have upped the ante by a further $15 million, an offer was obviously too good to refuse for Continental’s management. Facing the prospect of paying $25 million more than it originally intended, Roesler opted for a tactical retreat.

Instead, Roesler Group walks away empty-handed, with nothing but a collection of consulting and legal bills. Paul Roesler Jr. believes the drawn-out nature of his company’s negotiations with CTNA reflect Continental’s activities in North America. Last year, the Bryan plant made $10 million, none of which went to either bidder.

However, today is a new day for Roesler and now the company has new plans. While the Bryan facility would have been a good fit for Roesler Group’s operations, difficult union negotiations and significant investment would also have been required. Instead Paul Roesler Jr. says his company is “looking east” in order to fill its capacity needs.

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Sources indicated that Pensler is likely to treat the plant as a separate business entity, but may merge it into the Leavittsburg, Ohio-based Denman Tire Corp., which it also owns, in the future.

Before finalising any purchase of the plant, Pensler must still negotiate a new master contract with the United Steelworkers and its Local 890, which represents the plant. No timetable for completion of a purchase has been announced.

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