FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov. 2) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to reduce its work force at its Texarkana, Ark., plant by 500 employees by May as part of its "soft restructuring" efforts, the company said at an automotive aftermarket symposium.
Cooper previously had outlined its goals-cut costs by $70 million a year, enhance profits by $100 million and reduce inventories by $100 million. As part of this plan, Cooper put the unionized Texarkana plant on a variable schedule.
In the symposium and related documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cooper said the Texarkana plant is on track to build about 10 million tires this year. By May, production will drop to 8.5 million units. By the end of 2007, the run rate at the plant will be about 6.7 million units, Cooper said.
The Texarkana move is expected to save $12.3 million. The company is investing $17 million there to automate processes.
Cooper also will run three plants — in Findlay; Tupelo, Miss.; and Albany, Ga. — around the clock.
As part of its inventory reduction efforts, Cooper said it had cut inventories by $40.7 million by Sept. 30. It expects to trim a total $58.5 million by the end of the year and the full $100 million by the end of 2007.
Cooper also updated its search for a permanent CEO since Thomas Dattilo resigned in August. Byron Pond is serving as interim CEO. The company said it is currently focused on a "short list" of candidates but is not offering a timetable for the search´s completion.