Japan’s Bridgestone exits Russia with asset sale to serial buyer S8 Capital

(Reuters) -Japan’s Bridgestone Corp, one of the world’s top tyremakers, said on Wednesday it had sold its Russian assets to S8 Capital, a Russian holding company that has now scooped up a handful of assets from departing Western firms.

Bridgestone, present in Russia since 1998, decided in March 2022 to suspend all manufacturing activities and freeze new investments in Russia following the Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a step taken by many other foreign companies.

Tokyo-based Bridgestone, which cited uncertainty and ongoing supply issues when it started looking for a buyer in 2022, said its around 1,000 employees in Russia would transfer to S8 Capital. The deal’s price was not disclosed.

“The agreement includes a tyre manufacturing plant in Ulyanovsk and a sales and marketing office in Moscow,” Bridgestone said. “The impact of the transfer of its assets to S8 Capital on its consolidated projections for 2023 is to be minor.”

Russia represented less than 2% of its revenues, Bridgestone said last year. The deal has received all necessary regulatory approvals, it said.

S8 Capital said the Ulyanovsk factory had production capacity of 2.4 million tyres per year. Adding to its previous purchases of assets formerly owned by tyremakers Continental and Cordiant, S8 assets will now have production capacity of more than 15 million tyres annually.

“According to the terms of the deal, Bridgestone’s trademarks and brands are not transferred to the new owner,” S8 Capital said.

S8 Capital is owned by Russian entrepreneur Armen Sarkisian, and develops IT solutions in finance, retail, and telecommunications.

The company has also acquired assets previously owned by elevator maker Otis Worldwide Corp and German technology group Bosch.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Gleb Stolyarov; editing by Alison Williams)