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Cooper buys out Kenda's share in Chinese plant

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has reached an agreement to buy out Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd.'s share in their joint venture plant in Kunshan, China, for $116.5 million.

Each of the companies own 50% of the consumer tire facility, which began production in 2006 (see "Cooper, Kenda are building a plant in China"). The transaction will give Cooper 100% ownership by March 15, 2011 if everything goes as planned.

The Cooper Kenda Tire (CKT) plant will be renamed Cooper Kunshan Tire, contingent upon government approval.

The operation currently manufactures a variety of passenger car and light truck tires for export to North America and Europe. It is well positioned to supply the domestic Chinese market in the future, according to Cooper.

"The contribution of our partners in launching and growing CKT to its current production levels has been invaluable, and the joint efforts from both partners were mutually beneficial," says Hal Miller, corporate vice president and president of Cooper's international tire segment.

"Our new ownership position will allow us to further capitalize on the prospects we see for continued growth and competitiveness. We are extremely excited about the role this operation can and will play in Cooper's future."

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