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Cooper looks for improvements in 2006

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Tom Dattilo, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s chairman, CEO and president, said overall the company is optimistic about 2006.

In a conference call concerning the release of its financial reports for the fourth quarter and full year 2005, Dattilo said the company plans to continue to win back market share with new products, on-time delivery, dealer enthusiasm, the marketing of its new logo, new commercials and continued success in its light truck tire area.

He reported fill rates were higher than 93% in January, and the company is very encouraged in efficiences in its plants. "Headwinds" remain, however, including the volatile raw material market, which will continue to have a significant affect on the companys first and second quarter 2006 profitabilty.

Dattilo foresees two or three price increases for this year, including the April 1 price increase already announced.

The impact of its acquisition of Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Co. in China is not yet know, he said, but "remember, we have a great track record in integrating companies."

He predicts each successive 2006 quarter will be better than the prior quarter, and will be significantly better than 2005.

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