MOSCOW -- A Bridgestone official in Moscow said on Thursday the Japanese company had signed a preliminary agreement with Russian tire maker Amtel to produce tires at an Amtel factory in Russia.
"Yes, I can confirm we have signed a preliminary agreement with them to produce tires at Amtel's Kirov plant," said the official, who asked not to be named.
Amtel said on Wednesday it may end its cooperation with Finland's Nokian Renkaat, its joint venture partner in Russia.
Amtel, a major player on the Russian tire market, said it was in talks with a number of Western tire makers and may tie up with Bridgestone instead.
The Bridgestone official said his company was not currently in talks with Amtel about deepening their partnership in Russia.
The future of Amtel's joint venture with Nokian was in the hands of the Russian tyre maker, he said. "It's their (Amtel's) choice whether to work with Nokian or ... Bridgestone. It would be nice if it's us."
Nokian shares sank more than seven percent to 59 euros on the news. The company was not immediately available for comment.
Bridgestone's shares rose 2.5 percent in Tokyo trade on Thursday, after Amtel suggested it would forge closer ties with the Japanese company.