DETROIT, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co has moved to end its global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd, citing the Japanese tire maker’s “anticompetitive conduct.”
Goodyear said on Thursday that it began arbitration proceedings last month to end the alliance, as well as seeking damages and other relief. Goodyear did not provide details on what actions by Sumitomo led to Goodyear’s decision.
“We have learned that (Sumitomo Rubber Industries) has engaged in anticompetitive conduct in violation of applicable antitrust laws,” Goodyear Chief Financial Officer Laura Thompson said during a Thursday conference call with analysts. “We concluded that warrants the dissolution of this global alliance.”
The company said in its annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was difficult to predict the timing or outcome of the proceedings.
Goodyear owns 75 percent and Sumitomo the rest of the ventures that make and sell tires in both North America and Europe. In Japan, Sumitomo owns 75 percent and Goodyear the rest of the venture there.
The companies, which own stock in each other, also share ownership of a company that disseminates tire technology as well as a global purchasing company.
The alliance was formed in 1999.
Sumitomo acknowledged that Goodyear has moved to end the alliance but said ”there are differences in views between Goodyear and our company.
“We are extremely disappointed and we absolutely cannot overlook this,” Sumitomo said in a statement. “Due to the duty of confidentiality, we cannot comment in detail on the content of their accounts, but we will respond earnestly to resolve this issue.”
Goodyear said in the SEC filing that on January 10 it filed an arbitration appeal with the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce to end the alliance.