Cooper Reports ‘Exciting Quarter’
Cooper Tire and Rubber has reported a 6 per cent year-on-year increase in its net sales, breaking its previous record for tyre operations. Total net sales for the company’s continuing operations increased to $551 million in the quarter ended 30 September 2004. This compares with $519 million in the same period last year.
The company’s international tyre operations reported sales of $66 million in the quarter, up 21 per cent from 2003. According to the company, “higher volumes, improving prices and favourable currency exchange rates”, drove this increase. Third quarter operating profit for international tyre operations was $3 million, a 6 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. In this case the company cites the same reason for the increase but notes that it was “partially offset by higher raw material costs and increased administrative costs related to the establishment of operations in Asia.”
Cooper’s North American operations reported sales of $499 million in the quarter, up 5 per cent compared to $478 million in the third quarter of 2003. The tyre manufacturer reports that industry demand for replacement tyres in the quarter was soft. Cooper’s shipments were also down compared to the third quarter of 2003, a period the company claims was “unusually strong.” The most notable declines were in the economy and broadline passenger tyre categories. On a brighter note, the company claims it gained market share during the quarter in the winter, high performance and light truck tyre categories.
Commenting on the quarter’s results, Cooper’s chairman, president and CEO Thomas A Dattilo said: “This was another exciting quarter at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. The announcement of our agreement to sell Cooper-Standard was an important step forward in our strategy to dedicate ourselves to the tyre business. In addition, our plant expansions, product introductions and Asian initiatives will serve us well as we continue our history of growth and customer satisfaction. We are optimistic about our opportunities in the fourth quarter and into 2005,” Mr Dattilo continued. “Raw materials are still headed higher and will make industry conditions challenging but we can offset some of this impact as we begin to benefit from our capacity expansions in North America and also from increasing sourcing from China.”
The Company said it expects fourth quarter 2004 earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of 8 to 12 cents, which compares to 11 cents earnings per share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2003. This forecast was developed on the same basis reflected in the third quarter results from continuing operations.