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Rubber rankings top 6 unchanged, but sales slide

The top echelon of the North American rubber product manufacturing industry stayed intact during 2016, with the top six firms holding the same spots as 2015 and only one newcomer to the top 10.

Bridgestone Americas once again held the top spot in the annual Rubber & Plastics Newsrankings of the top rubber firms in North America, with an estimated $8.78 billion in rubber product sales on the continent.

Rubber rankings top 6 unchanged, but sales slide

Currency exchange fluctuations played a role in the totals with the Nashville, Tenn.-based subsidiary of Japan\’s Bridgestone Corp., as they did with many of the foreign-owned companies. For Bridgestone, its total sales dropped about 12 percent in yen terms, but 13.2 percent in dollars.

RPN uses the average annual exchange rate for calculating the revenue in U.S. currency.

Michelin North America Inc. again was ranked No. 2, with 2016 North American revenue of $7.78 billion, a drop of 12 percent from 2015.

Goodyear maintained its No. 3 spot in North America, with estimated rubber product sales of $7.2 billion in 2016, a 7.4 percent decline.

Declining sales among the top firms was a common theme in the rankings, as seven of the top 10 had a drop in revenue on the continent for the year.

Continental A.G.\’s North American businesses, which includes both its tire and ContiTech non-tire rubber business units, was one of the exceptions, holding onto the No. 4 spot with about $4.42 billion in 2016 revenue, a 5.3 percent gain from 2015.

Also holding their positions were Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., again No. 5 at an estimated $2.5 billion, and Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc., No. 6 at $1.73 billion in rubber product sales on the continent.

The lone newcomer to the top 10 was Hankook Tire America Corp., at No. 7 with $1.56 billion. The subsidiary of South Korea\’s Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. was eligible for RPN\’s rankings for the first time this year as it began operations at its first tire factory in North America.

To be eligible for the rankings, a company must have a manufacturing presence on the continent. Kumho Tire USA Inc. also makes its first appearance in the rankings as it began operations at its new factory in Georgia. Kumho Tire debuted at No. 27 with $528.1 million in North American sales.

Rounding out the top 10 were Toyo Tire (USA) Corp. at No. 8 with $1.51 billion in sales, followed by Yokohama Tire Corp. and Gates Corp., in a tie for No. 9 with an estimated $1.3 billion.

The aggregate sales of the top 10 came in at about $38 billion, down from the $41 billion posted by the top group in last year\’s rankings. While revenue declines were a trend for 2016, the rankings still boasted 14 companies posting $1 billion or more in North American rubber goods sales on the year, the same number as in 2015.

Besides Hankook and Kumho, there were two other companies new to the rankings. Acushnet Holdings Corp., which makes Titleist-brand golf balls, came in at No. 37 with $282.6 million, and HBD/Thermoid Inc.—a maker of hose, belts and other rubber products—was ranked No. 40 with $212.5 million.

Two firms that dropped out of the top 50 were Trico Products Corp. and Wilson Sporting Goods, as there wasn\’t sufficient enough data to make an estimate. The other two firms that came out of the top 50 included TrelleborgVibracoustic, as Freudenberg bought full control of the joint venture at mid-year, along with Wabtec Corp.

The cutoff for the No. 50 spot was the $133.7 million posted by Avon Automotive. Companies that posted the highest revenue totals after the cutoff included Timken Co.—which now owns the Carlisle belting business—Esterline Technologies, Callaway Golf, BRC Rubber & Plastic Corp. and Jasper Rubber Products.

There were a couple other items of note in the top 50. DTR Industries now is known as Sumitomo Riko America Inc., to reflect the name of its parent company. It ranked No. 20 with $800 million in revenues.

Church & Dwight Inc., producer of Trojan-brand condoms, also made a big jump in the rankings, rising to No. 17 with an estimated $890 million in North American rubber product sales, as more definitive data on the condom market and Trojan\’s market share became available.

Global non-tire top 50

On the global scene, the same companies occupied the top 10 in the rankings of global non-tire rubber product makers, but there was quite a bit of shuffling among the firms.

Continental, with its ContiTech business, maintained the top spot once again, with an estimated $5.61 billion in non-tire rubber product revenue.

Freudenberg Group moved up a spot to rank No. 2, with $5.04 billion. Much of that gain can be credited to its acquisition of the full share in the Vibracoustic business, and getting credit for all of its sales the last six months of 2016.

Hutchinson dropped a spot to No. 3 at $4.57 billion, followed by and Sumitomo Riko Co. Ltd., up one spot to No. 4 with $3.55 billion, and Cooper Standard—again the top ranked U.S. firm—at No. 5 with $3.3 billion.

Rounding out the top 10 were NOK Inc. with $2.96 billion; Gates at an estimated $2.85 billion; Bridgestone, down two spots to No. 8 with $2.7 billion; Trelleborg A.B. at $2.52 billion; and Parker-Hannifin Corp. with $2.27 billion.

Like Church & Dwight, Reckitt Benckiser Group P.L.C.—producer of Durex condoms, the top global brand—made a large jump in the rankings because of the new data on the condom market. The firm was ranked No. 11, with an estimated $1.75 billion.

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