16 February 1998

Nokian to outsource ag tires (Tire Business)

BUCHAREST, Romania--Finland's Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has picked Romanian tire producer S.C. Tofan Grup S.A. to make a range of its agricultural and industrial tires in Romania.

The long-term cooperation agreement covers $6 million to $8 million worth of products, Nokian said, and will allow the Finnish company to focus its resources on higher-value premium products in its forestry, mining and related segments.

Tofan Grup controls Romania's three largest tire producers: Danubiana S.A., Victoria S.A., and Silvania S.A. Tofan also manufactures farm/implement tires for Titan Tire Corp.

Nokian plans Russian venture

NOKIA, Finland--Nokian Tyres P.L.C. and Russia's largest tire and rubber company, Group Rosshina Ltd., have signed a letter of intent to establish a joint-venture tire plant in Yaroslavl, Russia, site of Rosshina's existing Yaroslavl Tyre Plant P.L.C. unit.

The proposed tire plant would have capacity for 1.5 million passenger tires initially, according to Nokian President Lasse Kurkilahti. Other tire types could follow later. Rosshina controls an extensive tire distribution network in addition to owning shares of five tire and rubber plants, Mr. Kurkilahti said.

Yaroslavl Tyre Plant P.L.C., located about 150 miles northeast of Moscow, is Russia's second-largest tire manufacturer, Nokian said, with annual production of 4 million car and truck/bus tires. Rosshina's annual tire sales total $360 million.

12 February 1998

Rubber business remains in the family (Capital)

An upturn in trading on the over the counter market was seen in the first week of February with daily turnover exceeding 10 billion lei.

Forty five percent of deals involved Danubiana tyre maker in Bucharest, owned by the Tofan Group, the employees and the Muntenia investment fund.. Almost 20 percent of the company are owned by a large number of individuals.

Danubiana joined trading on February 4 with 110,000 shares changing hands in one transaction at 43.709 lei a share. That mean the deal involved a sole seller and a sole buyer: the Tofan Group. Next day, turnover reached almost 10 billion lei, of which four billion were obtained from special transactions. A quarter of that day's turnover was recorded by Romcim cement maker and other 700 million lei were brought in by Romcif, another cement company. Prices of the two cement makers' shares rose by 3.29 and 17.87 percent.

Although this slight pick-up in the market is not constant, it may have a positive influence on investors, tempting them to buy. As a matter of fact, the OTC market is at present the best ground for investments in small companies, mainly because of low prices.

Copyright CAPITAL ROMANIA - business weekly magazine.

05 February 1998

Romania Competition Council monitors tyremaker (Reuters)

BUCHAREST, Feb 5 (Reuter) - The independent body overseeing competition in Romania said on Thursday it had given conditional approval to the dominant position held by private tyremaker distributor Tofan Grup SA in the local market.

"We will monitor Tofan Grup in the next five years to determine whether it respects ours conditions, which allow the firm to have ecomomic concentration in local tyre market," said Viorel Munteanu, president of the Competition Council, a watchdog body guaranteeing fair competition in Romania.

Under a decision issued by the Council, Tofan Grup must provide over the next five years data on turnover, net and gross profit, investments, shifts in shareholders' structure, tyre imports, the average number of its customers and the level of local and foreign market sales.

Last year, Tofan Grup bought a 51 percent stake in two state-owned tyre makers, after taking over Romania's largest tyremaker, Danubiana SA, in 1995. Tofan also has its own sales network.

Tofan Group SA, with a staff of 12,000 and a reported 1996 turnover on sales worth $90 million, is estimated to have raised its sales figure last year to $200 million.

((Andrei Iva, Bucharest Newsroom +40-1 312-0264, fax +40 1 315-8448, bucharest.newsroom@reuters.com)) REUTERS IVA RP

02 February 1998

Tofan to produce ag tires (Rubber and Plastic News)

BUCHAREST, Romania--Finland's Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has selected Romanian tire producer S.C. Tofan Grup S.A. to make a range of its agricultural and industrial tires in Romania.

The long-term agreement covers products that represent between $6 million and $8 million in annual sales, Nokian said. The deal allows the Finnish company to focus its resources on higher-value premium products in its forestry, mining and related segments.

Nokian also paid $8 million for Norway's third-largest tire distributor, Bergs Gummi-Industri A.S., a company with 18 retail stores, two truck tire retreading plants and annual sales of $18 million.

The acquisition doubles Nokian's retail presence in Norway and increases annual sales there to nearly $43 million.

Tofan Grup is a privately owned enterprise that controls Romania's three largest tire producers--Danubiana S.A. in Bucharest; Victoria S.A. in Floresti; and Silvania S.A. in Zalau.

Tofan also makes farm/implement tires for Titan International Inc.'s European subsidiaries. Tofan will produce Nokian-brand tires at two of its three plants and utilize Nokian molds and technical specifications, the firms said.