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January 10, 2014

Cooper clarifies production status at China plant

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is preparing to begin production of Cooper-branded tires at the Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire (CCT) joint venture facility in Rongcheng, China.

The facility manufactures TBR, farm, OTR, passenger and light truck tires. The Cooper brand will join the Dean, Chenshan, Starfire, Aunstone and Fortune brands.

The company issued a statement in response to reports that production of Cooper brand tires had resumed at CCT. In the statement, the company said “preliminary work” to begin production is under way:

“Preliminary work to ramp up production of Cooper brands at CCT is taking place. While this is a step forward in resolving the issues there, Cooper is looking to the labor union and joint venture partner to assure that production will indeed resume in full and will continue uninterrupted.

"While restarting production of Cooper brands at CCT indicates positive progress, it is absolutely critical that actions are taken there to allow Cooper to resume regular financial reporting. This remains an open issue and we are working hard to resolve it as our top priority.”

The China plant has been withholding information which Cooper needs to meet federal financial reporting requirements. CCT opposes the Cooper-Apollo merger agreement and filed a lawsuit against Cooper to dissolve their joint venture.

Cooper announced its decision to end its proposed sale to Apollo Tyres Ltd. on Dec. 30, 2013, citing lack of financing for the $2.5 billion deal. At that time, Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes said addressing the situation at CCT is the company’s top priority.

The company also said it is postponing options to enhance shareholder value, such as allocating capital toward acquisitions, higher dividends, or finding another suitor, until the situation at CCT is resolved.

For recent news on the Cooper-Apollo deal read:

"Analyst downgrades Cooper stock"

"Apollo plans to sue Cooper for damages"

"Cooper will pursue damages against Apollo"

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