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Cooper posts operating profit in North America

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s North American Tire operations generated $427 million in sales for the second quarter ended June 30, 2009. That represents 67.6% of the company's total sales.

Second-quarter sales were down 22% compared to the same period a year ago. According to Cooper, sales volumes were affected by continued soft replacement demand.

A $28 million operating profit for the second quarter was a major improvement over the $22 million operating loss from the same period in 2008.

Although volume decreases negatively affected profits by $25 million, Cooper says its flagship brand outpaced the industry in the U.S. market when compared to the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s reported shipments for the industry. The most significant volume decreases were in the economy and light truck product segments.

"The private brand distributor channel continued to be significantly weaker," says Cooper. However, "the segment experienced stronger sales during the last month of the quarter as the market showed signs of improvement."

For the six months ended June 30, 2009, the North American Tire segment had operating profit of $24.3 million on net sales of $866.6 million. That compares to an operating loss of $13.7 million on sales of $1 billion for the first half of 2008.

To date, the company has incurred $99 million of restructuring costs related to the closure of its Albany, Ga., facility. Total restructuring costs will range from $120 to $145 million, based on Cooper's estimates.

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