Union hopes for Carlisle, Titan merger

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 1999

The president of United Steelworkers of America Local 303L said Friday he still believes that Carlisle Companies of Syracuse, N.Y., will end up buying Titan International.

Local 303L&160;members have been on strike from Titan’s Natchez tire plant since early September 1998. Several attempts to negotiate a new contract with Titan have been unsuccessful.

When Carlisle on Aug. 4 signed a letter of intent to buy Titan for $600 million, union officials expressed hope that a change in ownership would bring them closer to getting a new contract. But Carlisle let the letter expire on Sept. 18.

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&uot;But we’re still hopeful,&uot;&160;said Leo &uot;T-Bone&uot; Bradley, Local 303L president. &uot;After all, they’re still talking.&uot;

Officials of both companies said they will continue discussing a purchase.

&uot;(Titan is) free to talk to other parties,&uot; said John Barsanti, vice president of Carlisle. &uot;But we still working toward the completion of a definitive merger agreement.&uot;

Carlisle, founded in 1917 as a tire and rubber company, made $1.5 billion in sales and posted net earnings of $84.9 million last year. The company has four divisions:&160;construction materials, automotive products, general industry and industrial components.

Carlisle Tire and Wheel, a subsidiary of the industrial components division, produces small bias-ply tires and wheels used on lawn and garden equipment, golf carts, recreational vehicles and boat and utility trailers.

Quincy, Ill.-based Titan International made almost $660.8 million in sales and posted net income of more than $8.15 million last year. The company produces wheels and tires for four sectors: agricultural equipment; construction equipment; military components; and consumer products, for use on ATV’s, trailers, golf carts and lawn and garden tractors.