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Cooper, Kenda form joint venture

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd, parent company of Kenda USA, have formed a joint venture to build a radial passenger and light truck tire plant in China.

"This is a significant step forward in our Asian strategy that we have been discussing for the past year," says Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo.

"That strategy is designed for both tires and automotive parts and in this instance will allow us to add capacity and lower costs in our tire business.

"It also gives us a base for sales in China down the road as the Chinese market increases significantly over the next decade."

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2004 and production will start in late 2005, according to Cooper officials.

Initial production will be for export from China through Cooper.

"Kenda has provided Cooper radial tires in Europe and bias tires in North America with great success, and we are confident in this project as well," says Jimmy Yang, president of Kenda USA.

The joint venture will help Kenda's growth in the radial market, he adds.

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