Cooper achieves record fourth quarter sales

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Cooper Tire & Rubbber Co.'s net sales for the fourth quarter of 2004 totaled $541 million, a company record.

Cooper's sales for the same period last year were $515 million.

Cooper's income from continuing operarions during 4Q 2004 was $3 million versus $8 million during 3Q 2003.

Income from discontinued operations was $18 million during the fourth quarter.

The sale of Cooper's Cooper-Standard Automotive unit resulted in a net gain of $112 million.

Including income from discontinued operations and the Cooper-Standard sale proceeds, total net income was $133 million.

For the full year of 2004, Cooper's continuing operations generated net sales of $2.1 billion, a 12% increase compared to net sales of $1.9 billion in 2003.

Full-year income from continuing operations in 2004 grew to $27 million, a $2 million increase over 2003 levels. Income from discontinued operations was $61 million during 2004 versus $49 million in 2003.

"Including income from discontinued operations and the gain on the sale of Cooper-Standard, total net income for 2004 was $201 million," say Cooper officials.

Cooper's North American Tire sales totaled $491 million during 4Q 2004, a 4% increase from $471 million during 3Q 2003. "This increase was driven by improved pricing and product mix and was partially offset by lower overall unit volumes."

Cooper's shipments of premium SUV and light truck tires increased by more than 3%.

Fourth quarter operating profit for North American Tire was $14 million versus $24 million during the same period in 2003.

"The decline was largely the result of lower unit volumed, higher raw material costs, higher product liability expense and increased production complexity, partially offset by improved price and mix."

For the full year of 2004, Cooper's North American Tire operations reported sales of $1.9 billion versus $1.7 billion in 2003.

"The increase was the result of a slightly higher unit volume combined with higher prices and improved product mix," say Cooper officials.

North American Tire operating profit totaled $76 million, a $1 million drop from 2003 levels. Cooper credits the drop to higher raw material costs, increased production complexity and other factors.

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