Bridgestone to increase production capacity for mining, construction tires

Bridgestone announced June 30 it will expand production capacity for large and ultra-large radial tires for mining, construction and other off-road equipment. The company said the move is in response to growing global demand for those tires, and is part of a sweeping capital spending program the Bridgestone Group is undertaking worldwide.

The capacity increase will center on expanding tire-production capacity at Bridgestone’s Shimonoseki Plant about 20 percent by the beginning of 2008. It will also include expanding production capacity for steel cord and off-road tire parts about 5 percent at the company’s Saga and Hofu plants, respectively. Bridgestone says it has earmarked $155 million for
the expansion work.

Bridgestone’s large and ultra-large tires are used mainly on mining and quarry equipment. Company managers say demand for those tires is growing worldwide in step with expanded mining activity, and they expect that trend to continue.

Bridgestone’s plans call for construction of new buildings at the Shimonoseki Plant to begin in the latter half of 2005, with work completed by the end of 2006. At the Hofu Plant,
Bridgestone will begin expansion work in the latter half of 2005 with new production capacity slated to be online in the latter half of 2006. The company will also begin work on expanding buildings at the Saga Plant in the latter half of 2005, and the new production equipment there is due to begin operation in early 2007.