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Cooper ramps up inventory levels

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Roy Armes, chief executive officer of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., said the company's plants are now ramped up and running at high utilization rates to meet customer demands and increase inventory levels.

Speaking at a conference call to discuss the company's third quarter results, Armes said its thrid quarter results were solid, even as results were somewhat limited by the company's current inventory levels. Plant volumes are expected to grow by 10% across the board in 2011 at Cooper's three remaining U.S. plants and internationally to meet customer needs.

The company expects its international business to account for 50% of its sales revenues in the next three to five years -- a growth of approximately 20%.

Armes feels raw material prices will continue to affect tire prices, and he expects the costs to increase another 2% to 4% in the fourth quarter and increase again the the new year, but not at the same level as seen in the last two quarters. The company plans to "stay ahead of the curve," said Armes, with price increases and plant efficiencies to help offset the affects of the increased raw material costs.



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