Cooper plants will maintain reduced production

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will continue to operate its Tupelo, Miss., and Texarkana, Ark., plants at reduced production levels through the end of the year for "inventory adjustment" purposes, Cooper Director of Investor Relations Roger Hendrikson told today.

Cooper reduced production at both factories by a combined 30,000 units in early October due to raw material supply chain disruptions caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"As Hurricane Rita moved through the U.S. Gulf Coast areas, several of Cooper's suppliers for carbon black and synthetic rubber were severely damaged and have not yet resumed production," said Cooper officials at the time.

"Also contributing to the shortage is access to roadways, which is being limited by authorities, and lack of rail cars as businesses compete for shipping alternatives."

Inventories of finished goods "should help maintain a steady flow of products to customers. Since Cooper estimates it has sufficient inventories of tires to fill customer orders, the financial impact of this situation should be limited only to the impact of reduced production in the affected plants."

At full capacity, the Texarkana and Tupelo plants can manufacture 87,000 consumer tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer's 2005 Facts Issue.

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