Cooper updates progress on Chinese ventures

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.´s joint venture with Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. in China is "behind schedule," Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo told investors this morning.

Dattilo credits delays to changing government regulations in China.

The joint venture is scheduled to start building radial passenger and light truck tires in early 2006. Initial production will be for export from China through Cooper.

The Cooper-Kenda joint venture was announced last December.

Meanwhile, Cooper´s medium truck tire production agreement with Hangzhou (China) Rubber Co. Ltd., announced one year ago, is bearing fruit.

Sales of Hangzhou-made tires "in this market (are) getting started," says Dattilo. Cooper anticipates sourcing 250,000 to 300,000 truck tires from the Chinese company each year.

"There are opportunities to invest in the global tire business. We plan to take advantage of these opportunities."

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