Cooper buys Serbian tire facility to expand European marketplace

Jan. 1, 2020
Cooper has signed an agreement to purchase an existing tire plant in Kru¨evac, Serbia.
Cooper has signed an agreement to purchase an existing tire plant in Kruševac, Serbia. Situated to the south of the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Kruševac “provides an excellent location to supply tires to the European and Russian markets,” according to Hal Miller, president of Cooper’s international tire operations. The new wholly-owned subsidiary, which will be known as Cooper Tire Serbia, will complement the firm’s established European operations and product offerings, including the high performance tires manufactured at the Melksham, England facility. “It is a logical next step in the high quality, cost-effective manufacturing footprint underpinning Cooper’s strategy of profitable top-line growth,” Miller says.

Including an initial investment of about €13 million and with the Serbian government supporting the project in several ways, the company plans to invest more than €50 million in the operations over the next three years.

The support from the Serbian government could total a possible €10 million if certain goals are achieved, says Miller.

“The Serbian government is very supportive of this transaction and promoted the benefits of the location, the labor force and the competiveness in the region,” he notes. “As a global tire company, developing this well-situated source of quality supply will benefit customers, employees and our shareholders. We are extremely excited about the momentum we are building and the role this operation will play in our future.”

In addressing the timetable for the new factory, Julian Baldwin, vice president and managing director of European operations, says, “We look forward to working with the experienced local work force in preparing to produce tires in Krusevac. The plant will initially employ 400, with plans to grow to a production capacity of 3 million tires with 600 to 700 employees within three years. There is room for even greater capacity with further investment in the business.”

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