MITAS

MITAS a.s. currently consists of four plants one in Prague, the other in Zlín, Otrokovice and Serbia.

These plants produce tyres for farm machinery, off-the-road machines and construction machinery, for motorcycles, high-lift trucks, light-goods vehicles and some airplanes.

MITAS Praha was established in 1933 in Prague-Strašnice as a subsidiary of Michelin. Michelin held a 75% interest, while the rest was held by Czechoslovak banks. Michelin had been attracted to Prague by the skilled manpower, which had became available owing to the economic recession. The new plant gradually increased the number of Czech employees up to 250. They made tyres and tubes for cars, motorcycles and bikes. Production in the plant reached its peak in 1937, making about 300 car and motorcycle tyres and almost 100 bike tyres (and tubes) a day.

During the war the plant was seized by Harburger Phîix, which focused on military production including, first of all, the hard rubber coating of metal parts. When the German management hastily left the plant in May 1945, the plant gradually returned to a civil product range and later on it was nationalised. In spring 1946 it was re-named to Pneumichelin, n.p. Praha. At the turn of the years 1946/1947, a contest was launched to find a new name for the plant. MITAS was the winning proposal, combing the words MIchelin and VeriTAS. Veritas, located at Hrádek nad Nisou, had been making rubber tyres for pram wheels and had been included in the Michelin group in 1946. The brand name MITAS has been used since summer 1947.

New machines and equipment were gradually installed and commissioned during 1949-1952. Preparations for extending the production of medium to heavy truck tyres continued simultaneously. The bicycle tyre unit was spun off under Rubena Náchod. The passenger car tyre production unit in Prague was closed in 1957 and in 1958 the plant was transferred to the newly created company, České závody gumárenské, which also covered Rubena Náchod and Gumokov Hradec Králové. By 1967, when an extensive restructuring of the company was completed, the company had won a good position among the leading European rubber companies. Later the company also introduced the production of tyres for construction machinery. In March 1985, a fire destroyed the factory s most important part the rubber mixing plant. Two years later a new automated mixing plant began being built and was fully commissioned in 1993. Meanwhile the company became a national enterprise and, later, a joint-stock company.

The tradition of tyre production in the current MITAS production unit in Zlín was established by Tomáš Baťa early in the 1930s. Equipment was delivered from abroad to Zlín in Jauary 1932 and in April the first 32x6 tyre was moulded there. A year later Baťa built a tyre plant in Zlín, which made 68,000 tyres of 43 sizes in the second half of 1934. In 1935 the plant doubled its output and the Baťa tyres were mounted on all Czech cars a situation not favouring the import of tyres from abroad. In 1939 Baťa made 250 thousand tyres annually and introduced also the production of V-belts, conveyer belts and technical rubber.

In 1945, the Baťa company was nationalised and in 1949 it was renamed to Svit. The production of tyres was separated in 1953 to establish a separate company, named Rudý Šíjen (Red October). In 1967 the Zlín plant produced the first passenger-car radial tyre and five years later a large new plant for tyre production was opened at Otrokovice near Zlín.

A new joint-stock company, Barum Holding, was established in 1991 with participation of MITAS Praha, the Czech Ministry of Industry, Barum Otrokovice, OP Barum Zlín, and Motokov Praha. Several years later Continental acquired a majority interest in the Otrokovice tyre plant, whereas the Zlín tyre plant, named Barumtech (later renamed to Beltyr) remained under the Barum Holding. Česká gumárenská společnost gradually developed from Barum Holding, whereas MITAS Praha merged with Beltyr Zlín to form a new single entity. An extensive restructuring programme (MITAS 2004) has been under way in MITAS for the fourth year now as one of the few companies in the Czech Republic, MITAS was awarded investment incentives from the Czech government for that programme. In 2002, MITAS launched the production of radial tyres for tractors and MPT radial tyres of the all-steel type.

Another important milestone there was the year 2004. On October 1, 2004 the representatives of the ČGS a.s. and the representatives of the Continental concern have signed performance contracts to the Basic agreement on purchase and sale from May 26, 2004 which accomplished the first phase of transferring the AGRO business unit from Continental concern into the group of the Czech Rubber Society (ČGS). In this first stage, complete manufacture in Otrokovice (about 500 employees) has been transferred to the ČGS as well as the first (Mexican) from the eight foreign branches. The other foreign business companies (USA, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain) and the head office of the AGRO division in Hannover have been transferred to ČGS on November 1, 2004. In 2005 a foreign branch has been established in Switzerland. With the effect from October 1, 2004, the MITAS company has acquired the right to use the trademarks Continental, Semperit and Euzkadi for agricultural tyres,. In this way, the ČGS has significantly strenghtened again its long term strategy, in which it is aiming at the development, manufacture and sale of the off-road tyres , in particular, agricultural tyres.

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