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Cooper achieves record Q4 sales

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. achieved sales of $967 million during the fourth quarter of 2003, an all-time record for the company.

The total represents a 15% increase compared to the same period in 2002.

Cooper's Q4 2003 net income totaled $28 million vs. $23 million during Q4 2002.

For the entire year of 2003, Cooper recorded net income of $74 million on net sales of $3.5 billion. Its net income for 2002 was $112 million. Cooper's 2003 results include restructuring charges of $15 million.

"This is our second consecutive record setting quarter and we are extremely pleased with our strong sales performance," says Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo.

Sales for Cooper's tire operation reached a Q4 record of $519 million, a 14% jump over Q4 2002.

The increase was driven by an 8% increase in tire unit volumes, improved product mix and improved pricing, according to Cooper officials.

Cooper's sales of high performance and ultra-high performance tires grew more than 50% during Q4 2003.

For the full year, Cooper's Tire Group achieved record sales of $1.9 billion vs. $1.8 billion in 2002.

However, the Tire Group's operating profit for the year was $88 million vs. $136 million the previous year, "with the decline being the result of lower sales volumes in the first half, the resulting operating inefficiencies and dramatic increases in the cost of raw materials throughout the year."

Cooper will pay a quarterly dividend of 10.5 cents per share of common stock on March 31 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 5.

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