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Dattilo gives a preview of Cooper's 2Q results

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Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo estimates Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s earnings per share will be in the 13- to 17-cent range for the second quater.

Cooper will announce its financial results for the second quarter on July 17. It expects those results to fall short of current analyst expectations.

"This was a difficult quarter," says Dattilo. "Raw material prices were dramatically higher and overall demand for replacement tires was weak.

"The replacement tire industry remained very soft during the quarter. Although we did see strong improvement in the latter half of June, it was not enough to offset the weakness earlier in the period."

Dattilo says the earnings were affected by the following charges: restructuring (2 cents), temporary tire plant shutdowns (4 cents) and a "minor accrual adjustment and the write off of certain tooling assets" (2 cents).

Separately, Cooper recognized a benefit of 6 cents from a reduction of prior period product liability and litigation expenses.

Cooper already has announced it will raise domestic passenger and light truck tire prices between 2% and 4% beginning Aug. 1.

As of the close of the day July 7, Cooper's stock was selling for $17.89 a share, that compares to a 52-week high of $22.17 and low of $11.84.

Cooper Tire reported first-quarter 2003 net income of $15 million, a 42% drop compared to the same period a year ago. The company's net sales of $795 million were also down comparatively; in the first quarter of 2002, Cooper reported $813 million in sales.

Net sales for Cooper's tire operations also were down in the first quarter, from $433 million in 2002 to $396 million this year. Total unit volume for the tire division declined 11% during the quarter.

The company reaffirmed expectations that the second half of the year will show "significant improvement over the first half."

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