FINDLAY, Ohio (Feb. 9)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., coming off a record-setting fourth quarter, is optimistic its results in 2004 will exceed the company's performance in 2003.
Cooper anticipates a 10-percent jump in its unit shipments this year vs. industry growth of 3 to 4 percent, Thomas A. Dattilo, chairman, president and CEO, told analysts in a conference call discussing the firm's results. The anticipated growth will outstrip the company's production capacity, Dattilo said, meaning Cooper will be relying even more on expanded outsourcing agreements.
Cooper recorded record sales of $966.7 million and a 20-percent increase in net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, as both the tire and automotive groups generated double-digit increases in sales. But earnings in the tire business fell 17.2 percent on the effects of increasing raw material costs and higher expenses for various sales rebates and customer programs.
For the year, net income slipped 34 percent to $73.8 million on restructuring costs and difficult market conditions in the first half, Dattilo said. Full year sales grew 5.5 percent to $3.51 billion.