BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - A year from now, the name 'Tofan' will appear for the first time in our top 50 tyre company rankings. The company will appear within the top 30, boasting sales of more than $200 million.
Tofan Group. Of Romania. What started out six years ago as a handful of retail locations; and later a Bandag retreading franchise has grown into a tyre manufacturing and distribution company boasting more than two-thirds of Romania's manufacturing capacity and annual sales of $200 million.
The group recently launched an in-house developed all steel truck radial, being produced by Silvania.
Tofan Grup SA is a privately-owned Romanian/Canadian enterprise, founded and directed by Georghe Tofan, which has quietly bought majority control of Romania's three largest tyre producers, Danubiana SA in Bucharest, Victoria SA in Floresti, and Silvania SA in Zalau.
Daily production from these three tyre plants, plus the Bandag plant, is 15 000 units.
Group sales grew more than 80 percent last year to $100 million, and the additions this year of Victoria and Silvania will more than double the 1997 sales figure; exports are expected to represent up to one-quarter of sales, including $10 million in sales to the US.
The purchases of Victoria and Silvania were underwritten partially by Nomura Securities International, which arranged $100 million in financing for Tofan's growth projects.
To date, Tofan has not linked with any western tyre maker, either commercially or technically, but it certainly won't be long before the courtship process begins.
Tofan's sales base puts it on level ground with the other remaining independent central/eastern European tyre maker, Matador.