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Cooper to 'release products in a rapid cadence'

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Cooper to 'release products in a rapid cadence'

“Our volume performance in the fourth quarter and the second half was ahead of industry performance in the U.S.," said Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes during a conference call to discuss the company’s fourth quarter and year-end financial results.

 “This is a result of multiple factors, including the actions taken to better align ourselves with market demands.

“We have actively been targeting new product launches into segments where we believe growth will occur. These new products have been well received by the market, and in 2010, we plan to continue to release products in a rapid cadence.”

An example of the company’s new product launches is its Weather-Master WSC snow tire, he noted.

"I continue to be very pleased with the performance of Cooper's employees and the results that we are delivering. The hard work -- staying focused on strategic direction -- and some tough but necessary decisions combined with the improving industry conditions have resulted in very strong margins in the second half."

The demand for tires continued to stabilize during the fourth quarter, Armes noted, and miles driven showed positive improvement. The company also recorded strong demand for its products in the People’s Republic of China.

Armes noted the company ceased tire production at its facility in Albany, Ga., in September, and continues relocating equipment to other plants. The annual savings due to the closing of the plant should be in the $75 million to $80 million range, he said, achieved in part by better optimization of the company’s three remaining plants.

On a consolidated basis, Cooper’s sales for the fourth quarter increased over the prior year fourth quarter by 22% to $773 million. “Significant volume increases were offset by negative pricing and mix during the quarter,” Armes said. “Raw material costs were favorable during the fourth quarter on a year-over-yeas basis, but have begun to increase markedly.”

See related item, “Cooper  posts net income for quarter and year,” at on this site.


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