This Tire Maker Is Really Rolling

Count TBC Corp. in the corner of companies benefiting from consumers' growing preference for low-priced private-label goods. Its product: Tires for the auto-replacement market, of which it controls 6%. TBC's stock has been a steady winner, driving up from 11 a share in October to 17 3/4 by Apr. 13. And some money managers think the stock will bounce higher as the company keeps posting record earnings.

Analysts expect TBC to report its eighth yearly record earnings in 1993. CEO Marvin Bruce confirms that the company's performance so far this year reinforces his confidence that sales will exceed 1992's $569 million as well as its earnings of 76 a share.

Analyst Gary McManus at Kemper Securities, who is bullish on TBC, expects earnings of 90 in 1993 and $1.05 in 1994. He notes that TBC "remains in good financial condition, with debt of only $34 million, or 25% of total capitalization." The company's yearly return on equity has averaged 23% over the past five years, says McManus.

Through its three brands--Multi-Mile, Cordovan, and Sigma--TBC is the largest supplier to the replacement-tire market, trailing Goodyear, Michelin and Firestone. Tires account for 87% of its sales. Other products include batteries, wheels, and brakes. "In a year of strong growth in tire shipments, TBC outpaced the overall market last year," notes James Alexandre, an analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities. This year, he expects the market to slow down, but he sees TBC shipments rising about 10%.