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Strength in mining sector, software drew D&D buyer

John Seelmeyer

Tires may be an old-fashioned business, but a high-tech solution developed by D&D Tire Inc. of Fernley helped attract a buyer for the company.

D&D Tire, which operates 10 tire service centers in Nevada and southern Idaho and has a big presence in the mining industry throughout the West, was acquired last week by Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. of Potosi, Mo.

Both companies are privately held, and terms weren’t disclosed. Purcell executives said, however, the combined companies will have sales of more than $300 million a year.

Keith Butcher, executive president of Purcell Tire, said the two companies had been in contact for several years, but acquisition talks got started in earnest late last year.

Purcell is pushing to get bigger, and the mining industry is one of the areas it’s targeted for growth. The acquisition of D&D Tire, Butcher said, will nearly double Purcell’s sales of tires to the mining industry.

A software package developed by D&D that delivers tire-management information to big customers also helped draw Purcell to the Fernley company.

“That was a big motivator for us,” said Butcher. He said some manufacturers have developed similar software, but D&D’s is noteworthy because it’s free of any ties to the products of an individual tire-maker.

The software product has been in strong demand in recent years, D&D executives said, because tight supplies of tires for off-road equipment such as the trucks and loaders used in surface-mining operations have boosted interest in careful management of tires.

D&D, which is believed to be the largest off-road tire dealer in Nevada, operates a repair facility for off-road tires at Eureka.

It also operates a retreading plant at Caldwell, Idaho, and it’s been pushing retreading services as a cost-effective alternative to mining operators.

As the two companies talked seriously in recent weeks, Butcher said they discovered they are similar in everything from their structure to their operating philosophy.

“D&D is a smaller version of Purcell,” he said. “They have really approached the market on a sales basis from a service perspective. This is a great win for our customers.”

D&D Tire was founded by Paul DiMartini in 1983 as an independent tire dealer, and Butcher said DiMartini consciously modeled some facets of the Nevada company on what he saw at Purcell.

DiMartini will continue as president of D&D Tire. Britt Johnson, vice president of D&D, and Phil Branen, director of mining for Purcell Tire, will serve as co-heads of the global mining operation for the newly merged companies.

D&D Tire employs about 180 people. DiMartini said the merger will give them more opportunities for advancement in a larger organization.

Purcell will operate D&D as a wholly owned subsidiary through the rest of this year. It then will transition D&D operations into Purcell’s operating units, and a single brand will be launched, Butcher said.