In a move to expand its position in the rapidly expanding central and eastern European market,as well as consolidating its low-cost sourcing capabilities, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will acquire the remainder of Sava Tires d.o.o., a joint venture tire manufacturing company in Kranj, Slovenia. Goodyear will exercise its call option and purchase the remaining 20 percent of Sava Tires owned by Slovenia’s Sava d.d. for approximately $52 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in June. Goodyear’s stake in Sava Tires is held by its 75 percent-owned Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe affiliate. In 1998, Goodyear acquired its original 60 percent stake in the Sava Tires joint venture. It bought an additional 20 percent in 2002. “We are very pleased to complete our purchase of Sava Tires,” said Robert J. Keegan, Goodyear chairman and chief executive officer. “We have seen Sava Tires grow successfully as a supplier of quality products not only to the former Yugoslavian market but also to other countries in Europe.” At its plant in Kranj, Sava Tires manufactured more than seven million tires for cars, light trucks and commercial vehicles in 2003. It exported more than 80 percent of its production to 70 countries. The majority of its exports go to other European countries. “Goodyear has invested more than $100 million in modernization at Sava Tires and expects the company to continue to make rapid progress,” said Jarro Kaplan, president of Goodyear’s Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East business unit. Goodyear has three additional tire manufacturing plants in eastern Europe:in Debica, Poland, which now manufactures more than 15 million tires a year and in Izmit and Adapazari in Turkey, which produce seven million tires a year between them. In 2004, Goodyear’s European-based tire businesses expect to manufacture more than 84 million tires, about 40 percent of which are expected to be produced in low-cost facilities.