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Cooper will reduce production at two plants due to supply problems

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Two Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plants will operate on reduced schedules due to raw material shortages caused by Hurricane Rita, effective Oct. 2. Some 30,000 tires per day will be taken out of production.

The plants are in Texarkana, Ark., and Tupelo, Miss.

"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," say Cooper officials.

"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."

Materials that are now in stock will be used for "high demand products."

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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