Cooper to explore sale of its automotive business

March 24, 2004

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is looking at possibly selling its Cooper-Standard Automotive Group unit, which generated revenue of $1.6 billion in 2003.

"Over the past few years, we have invested a significant amount of effort building our automotive business into a leader in its respective markets," says Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo.

"At this time, the board of directors believes that it is appropriate to evaluate strategic alternatives for the group.

"We believe that Cooper Tire & Rubber may best be served by dedicating our resources to investing in our tire business and further pursuing global expansion."

Proceeds from a possible sale may be used to reduce debt, invest in tire operations, return capital to shareholders, re-purchase shares, "or a combination of the foregoing," according to an official statement from Cooper that was released this morning.

Novi, Mich.-based Cooper-Standard Automotive produces fluid handling, body sealing and active and passive vibration control systems, mainly for original equipment auto manufacturers.

Until further details are available, Cooper plans to continue operations "as usual by seeking new business, developing new products and filling customer orders as needed."

Cooper's stock price closed at $19.79 following the announcement -- a $1.23 increase over the previous day. That compares to a 52-week high and low of $23.36 and $11.84, respectively.