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09-21-11

Bridgestone Metalpha Invests $75 Million in Clarksville Plant to Expand Steel Cord Production

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 21, 2011) - The Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. (BMU) plant in Clarksville, Tenn., will begin producing off-road radial steel cord in 2015 in connection with a $75 million investment that will increase daily output by 10 percent, expand the plant's size by more 123,077 square feet, and create 36 hourly and nine salaried jobs.

This investment is related to a comprehensive expansion in U.S. manufacturing operations by the Bridgestone Group, which announced today it is building a new off-road radial tire plant in Aiken County, S.C. BMU will supply the steel cord used in tires that will be produced at this new off-road radial plant. Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM), an affiliate of BMU, also announced a substantial increase in production capacity at its existing passenger and light truck tire plant located in Aiken County. All together, these projects represent an investment of more than $1.2 billion in BSAM's U.S. manufacturing operations and are expected to create more than 850 new jobs in the next nine years.

"This year the Bridgestone Metalpha Clarksville facility celebrated its 15th anniversary, and we can think of no better way to cap off this commemorative year than with this announcement," said Masami Kikuchi, President and CEO, Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. "We would like to thank the state of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority for their support over the past 15 years and with this latest business endeavor. Here in Clarksville and Tennessee we have a wonderful business climate and teammates, and we're excited to be expanding once again to meet the growing demand for our world-class product."

Site preparation and construction in Clarksville will begin in the first quarter of 2012 with construction completion expected by the end of 2014. Installation of the manufacturing equipment will begin in the first quarter of 2013. The additional production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015, reaching full production capacity early in 2020.

"The Bridgestone Metalpha team has been a tremendous business and community partner to Clarksville for 15 years," said Carolyn Bowers, Mayor of Montgomery County, Tenn. "We're so pleased that Bridgestone Metalpha has once again decided that our Clarksville is the perfect place for a business to invest, expand and grow."

BMU's Clarksville location puts it in close proximity to its largest customer base and makes it centrally located to ship to Bridgestone Americas' tire manufacturing facilities in North America. Production began in April 1996, with an initial planned volume of 32,000 metric tons per year of steel cord for Bridgestone Americas tires. The plant was expanded in 1998 and again in 2004 to its current production capacity of 165 metric tons per day. The facility is located on 87 acres, occupies more than 800,000 square feet of manufacturing space and employs about 450 teammates.

BMU has won numerous awards, including the United Way Days of Caring, Shine On Volunteer Award; the State of Tennessee Commissioner's Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety and Health; and the Sarah Ditmore Cooper Partners in Education Award.

The Clarksville BMU facilities are one part of the global Bridgestone Group's presence in Tennessee. The state is also home to the headquarters of BSAM and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) in Nashville; BATO's LaVergne and Warren County truck and bus tire facilities and Lebanon distribution center; the Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC (FSIP) Dyersburg facility; Bridgestone Corporation's Bridgestone APM (BAPM) Dickson facility; and 54 company-owned retail locations. All together, the Bridgestone family of companies has invested more than $1.5 billion in manufacturing and distribution facilities and employs nearly 4,000 people in the state of Tennessee.

About Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc.:
Located in Clarksville, Tenn., Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. (BMU) produces steel cord that is used in steel radial tires. BMU provides its products to the Bridgestone Group of companies, including Bridgestone Americas, Inc., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation (BSJ), the world's largest tire and rubber company. In addition to the Clarksville facility, members of the Bridgestone Group own and operate several other international plants located in Japan, China and Thailand that supply steel cord worldwide.

Type: Corporate