FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov. 8)—Lower unit sales volume, high raw material costs and higher interest expense offset gains from price hikes in the third quarter, leading Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to post a quarterly loss of $840,000.
Sales in the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose only 1.2 percent to $557.8 million. The net loss compares with a profit of $9.87 million for the year-ago period.
In the company's North American Tire unit, sales rose 2 percent to $509.4 million. Cooper said the increase was driven by improved price and mix but was offset partially by lower unit volumes. The Findlay-based tire maker's shipments of light vehicle tires were down 7 percent, with the largest declines in the economy and broadline passenger tire segments. Cooper's shipments of light truck tires increased by 9 percent.
Operating income in the segment fell 36.8 percent to $16.9 million. The decline was attributed to the lower unit sales—including a loss of broadline market share—and high raw material costs, Cooper said.
"Our sales were softer than we anticipated throughout the quarter and lagged the markets in July and August," said Thomas Dattilo, Cooper chairman, CEO and president. "We saw improvement and gained market share in September, but it was not enough to overcome the slow start in the quarter."
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Cooper posted sales of $1.58 billion, up from $1.54 billion a year ago. The tire maker posted a net loss for the period of $2.51 million, down from a profit of $68.1 million last year.