FINDLAY, Ohio (March 1) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted higher sales for the fourth quarter and full year in 2005, both corporate-wide and in its North American tire operations, but reported losses in both periods.
In the fourth quarter, Cooper´s sales grew 5.7 percent to $572.4 million from $541 million in the year-ago period, but the Findlay-based tire maker posted a loss from continuing operations of $6.5 million compared with earnings of $3 million in the 2004 period.
Cooper said operating profit was affected negatively by higher raw material costs, $6 million in scrap charges from a voluntary recall and $8 million from reduced operating levels at some North American plants, among other factors. Quarterly operating profits also were impacted positively by improved pricing and mix and by a $12 million gain from a settlement dispute with certain suppliers.
In the quarter, Cooper´s net loss of $6.9 million compared with net profits of $133.2 million a year ago. The 2004 results included a $112.4 million gain from the sale of the company´s non-tire automotive operations.
For the year, Cooper´s sales rose 4.8 percent to $2.16 billion as the company posted a loss of $15 million from continuing operations, down from earnings of $27 million in 2004. The firm said sales rose on higher prices and better product mix, but operating profit fell because of higher raw material costs, lower unit volumes and plant inefficiencies.
Cooper reported a net loss for the year of $9.36 million, compared with a profits of $201.4 million a year ago, which also were impacted by the fourth quarter gain from the sale of the automotive unit.
In its North American Tire operations, Cooper´s quarterly sales rose 6.9 percent to $524.6 million but operating income fell 35.7 percent to $9.16 million from $14.2 million. For the year, sales in the North American segment rose 4.4 percent to $1.96 billion, while operating income plummeted 52.8 percent to $35.8 million from $76 million.
"There were many items, both positive and negative, that obscured our actual results and make it difficult to immediately recognize the improvements and progress we have achieved in our operations," said Thomas Dattilo, chairman, president and CEO.