Cooper posts sales, income losses for 1Q

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Cooper Tire & Rubber posted net sales of $571 million on a loss of $21 million for the first quarter of 2009. Cooper's sales were $108 million less than its first quarter 2008 sales.

Cooper officials say results "were pressured by decreased volumes and production curtailments as the company manages inventory to align with demand."

Cooper's first quarter results included pre-tax restructuring charges of $14 million relating to the on-going closure of its Albany, Ga., plant. The Findlay, Ohio-based company also recorded $7 million in charges related to the tentative settlement of a previously disclosed retiree lawsuit.

Operating profit -- excluding restructuring charges and the tentative settlement -- totaled $5 million vs. $10 million during the same period in 2008.

Cooper's North American Tire operations generated sales of $439 million during the first quarter, a $59 million drop from 1Q 2008 sales, and absorbed an operating loss of $4 million compared to operating profit of $8 million during the same period last year.

"Sales continued to be affected by soft demand in North America as weakness in the replacement market persists. The most significant volume decreases were in the economy and light truck product segments. The private brand distributor channel also was significantly weaker." However, the segment "had success in expanding its market presence in Mexico and Canada."


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