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Cooper's Pond reports on market influences

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Byron Pond, interim CEO for the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., speaking during a conference call to discuss the company's third quarter financial results, said the company remains committed to the private label business.

"We have only a dozen or so private label customers, who vary considerably in size, and we remain committed to our private label business. We have no plans to shed any of that business."

Concerning the light truck tire market, Pond said, "There has been aggressive pricing by our competitors on light truck tires. We have not elected to meet that pricing." The company is instead taking a wait-and-see atitude before making a change on its light truck tire pricing.

Pond said the company expects a stabilization of raw material prices through 2007. "We think there is a lot of sanity in the industry right now concerning raw material pricing."

Cooper's growth rate in premium tires has been at or greater than the market's for most of the year, Pond noted. "We feel that will continue. That’s where growth is, and everybody is benefiting from that."

As for broad line tires, Pond said that this segment continues to drop, influenced in part by a higher number of new vehicles going to premium tires as original equipment. "This is working against us, and we won’t be able to change that."

Having just returned from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Pond said Cooper's customers "feel positive about what were doing at Cooper. They are behind our initiatives. They all want to see us succeed."

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