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Cooper sees record sales, income growth in first quarter

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted net income of $21 million for the first quarter versus a net loss of $5 million during the same period last year. Cooper's 1Q 2007 sales totaled $689 million, a 5% increase from the first quarter of 2006 and a record for the company.

In addition, Cooper's operating profit during the first quarter rose to $30 million versus a loss of $4 million during 1Q 2006.

The Findlay, Ohio-based tiremaker "continued to benefit from the cost reduction and profit improvement initiatives it announced in September 2006, as well as improved price mix in North America and increased tire unit sales in Europe and Asia," say Cooper officials.

The firm's North American Tire operations posted sales of $535 million, an 8% increase from 1Q 2006. "This increase was driven by improved price and mix, partially off-set by lower unit sales volume."

North American Tire generated $28 million in operating profit during 1Q 2007, a $34 million jump over the same period last year. Cooper officials credit the gain to "favorable price changes" and other factors.

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