Sumitomo Rubber Industries

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Headquarters (Kobe, Japan)

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (住友ゴム工業株式会社 Sumitomo Gomu Kōgyo Kabushiki-gaisha?) (TYO: 5110) is a tire and rubber company based in Japan. It is part of the Sumitomo Group.

The company traces its origins to 1909, when the Sumitomo Group made an investment in Dunlop Japan, the newly formed Japanese subsidiary of the British company Dunlop Rubber. Over the years Sumitomo and Dunlop developed a close business relationship, and in 1963 the Sumitomo Group acquired control of Dunlop Japan and renamed it Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.

In 1985, when Dunlop Rubber was taken over by BTR plc, the company acquired the automobile tire assets of Dunlop, including the right to use the Dunlop brand on automobile tires. The acquisition did not include the US and Australian businesses, which were separately owned, but in 1986 Sumitomo also acquired the Dunlop Tire Corporation of the US from its management.[1]

In 1997, Sumitomo formed a joint venture with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, by which Goodyear and Sumitomo agreed to manufacture tires for each other's markets, including Dunlop branded tires. As part of the agreement, Goodyear acquired 75% interests in Dunlop Tyres, the UK company which Sumitomo had formed, and in Dunlop Tire Corporation. Goodyear and Sumitomo also made investments in each other.[2]

Today, the company makes a wide range of rubber based products, including automobile tires, golf balls and tennis balls. On 14 February 2014, Goodyear announced its intention to dissolve its partnership with Sumitomo due to alleged "anticompetitive conduct".

SRI Sports Limited[edit]

SRI Sports Limited is the subsidiary of Sumitomo that specializes in sports equipment, with the main focus being tennis and golf. SRI Sports owns Srixon, Cleveland Golf, its subsidiary, Never Compromise, as well as rights to the Dunlop name in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Srixon produce tennis balls, golf balls, golf clubs, and a full range of golfing accessories. It holds several professional golfers under endorsement deals including Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson.

Cleveland Golf also make a full range of golf equipment, and have endorsement deals with Vijay Singh and Boo Weekley among others.

Following the acquisition of Cleveland Golf,[3] SRI Sports announced their intention to consolidate its operations, with Cleveland overseeing marketing and distribution across North America, with Srixon doing the same in Europe and Australia, and Dunlop taking over in Asia.[4]

References[edit]

  • International Directory of Company Histories (1992), St James Press ISBN 1558620613, Vol V, p. 252

External links[edit]