FINDLAY, Ohio (May 9) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will close its recently renovated Athens, Ga., race tire and tread rubber factory in the next two to three months and move the plant´s production to other facilities.
The firm said closing the 56-year-old plant, which employs 140, and transferring production elsewhere represents a better utilization of assets.
Cooper estimates the closing will result in $11 million to $15 million in pretax costs, spread out over the remainder of fiscal 2006. The company also invested $4.2 million in 2001 to cover the consolidation of tread rubber capacity from a Dallas plant that was being closed.
Cooper spent $11 million in 2004-05 to add race tire capacity to the tread rubber plant. The initial production was slated to be Mickey Thompson DOT ET street radials and DOT street-legal Avon Tech R radials. The company also said it was planning to make competition motorcycle tires there.
It acquired the plant in 1999 in its purchase of Oliver Rubber Co.
The Findlay-based tire maker didn´t say where it plans to move the production. It operates tire plants in Texarkana, Ark.; Albany, Ga.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Findlay, and a tread rubber plant in Asheboro, N.C. Cooper launched an initiative in 2004 to consolidate precure tread rubber production at that plant.