B.F. Goodrich seeks to change name to show that it no longer makes tires

February 01, 2001|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON - B.F. Goodrich has decided to change its name to help the company burnish its image in the aerospace industry and shed the tire-maker reputation it earned with a product it no longer makes. But it isn't saying yet what the new name will be.

"People will just have to wait," said Kevin Ramundo, vice president of corporate communications. He said the company won't release the new name until a final proxy statement is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, probably in March. Shareholders will vote on the name change at the annual meeting April 17.

Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, a doctor who bought stock in the Hudson River Rubber Co. in 1869, founded B.F. Goodrich. The company made fire hoses and bottle stoppers, and later made an international name for itself by manufacturing tires for bicycles, automobiles and aircraft.

The company sold its tire unit to France's Michelin CSA in 1986, and Michelin retains the right to use the B.F. Goodrich trademark for automotive tires under a license agreement. Meanwhile, B.F. Goodrich became the largest U.S. maker of landing gear, and its aerospace systems revenue has climbed to $4 billion today from about $300 million in the early 1990s.

Ramundo said the name change will emphasize the company's business shift. It also will build on the prestige afforded by the B.F. Goodrich name, but it isn't clear how similar the new name will be to the old.

The company filed a preliminary proxy statement with the SEC yesterday that included the name-change proposal, but left a blank where the new name should be.

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