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Cooper Posts Loss for 2005

(Akron/Tire Review) Citing a number of factors, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted a net loss of $9 million for 2005, down considerably from 2004’s net profit of $201 million.

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The loss came against full-year sales of $2.2 billion, which was up 4% vs. 2004’s sales of $2.1 billion.

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Cooper said the 2005 loss was due to a combination of rising raw material costs, lower unit sales, plant inefficiencies and the impact of the strike at its Texarkana, Ark., plant last year. Improved pricing and product mix helped boost overall sales, Cooper said.

For the full year, Cooper’s North American tire operations had sales of $2.0 billion, up 4% from 2004’s results of $1.9 billion. Operating profit, though, slipped to $36 million vs. $76 million in fiscal 2004.

International operations accounted for $264 million in sales but a net loss of $4 million in 2005. This compares with sales of $257 million and operating profit of $9 million in 2004.

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"There were many items, both positive and negative, that obscured our actual results and make it difficult to immediately recognize the improvements and progress we have achieved in our operations,” said Tom Dattilo, Cooper’s chairman, president and CEO.

"Raw material prices will continue to present challenge and uncertainty in the tire industry in 2006. Stubbornly high oil prices and recent spikes in natural rubber prices will certainly have an impact on the first and second quarters of the year. In spite of this headwind, we remain optimistic about our opportunities for the year overall," Dattilo said.

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