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Goodyear Canada to expand tire retread plant in North Bay next year

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Goodyear Canada said Wednesday it will build a new industrial tire retread plant in North Bay by the fall of 2008 to meet growing demand for retreaded tires from the construction, mining, forestry and recycling sectors.

The impact on the workforce at the current plant in the central Ontario city was not disclosed.

Goodyear Canada, a unit of U.S.-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE:GT), said that about 18.6 million retreaded tires were sold in North America in 2006, with sales of more than $3 billion. The sector helps divert scrap tires now winding up in landfills.

The Toronto-based Canadian subsidiary has operated a retread plant in North Bay for 21 years and did not say how many new workers might be needed at the expanded operation.

Goodyear Canada, with 4,000 employees, has manufacturing plants in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

In another development Wednesday, parent company Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said it has tentatively agreed to keep its corporate offices in Akron, where the biggest U.S. tire manufacturer was founded in 1898.

The company announced a redevelopment of about 84 hectares near downtown Akron that will replace its present headquarters and keep thousands of jobs in the industrial Ohio city.

``This is a major milestone for the future of Goodyear and the Akron community,'' Robert Keegan, Goodyear's chairman and chief executive, said at a news conference.

He said the deal ``will keep Goodyear's worldwide headquarters in Akron for decades to come.''

The deal calls for Industrial Realty Group, a Downey, Calif.-based, to buy the Goodyear property, build the new headquarters and then lease it to Goodyear. Industrial Realty has a history of remaking old U.S. industrial sites.

Stuart Lichter, president and senior managing partner of IRG, estimated about US$700 million of private capital will go into the project, which is linked to an array of public incentives and will include other office buildings and shops.

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Goodyear Canada to expand tire retread plant in North Bay next year
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