FINDLAY, Ohio (March 2, 2010)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. rebounded back into the black for the year, reporting $51.8 million in net income last year after a $219.4 million loss in 2008. Annual sales in 2009 dipped 3.6 percent to $2.78 billion, compared with 2008.
The year-end earnings were bolstered by a 21.6-percent jump in fourth-quarter sales to $773 million that ended the period with a $39.2 million profit, compared with a fourth-quarter loss of $143.5 million in 2008. The results included income of $6 million from discontinued operations during the quarter, the Findlay-based tire maker said.
The improved quarterly results were driven by lower raw material costs, improved volumes and increased utilization of manufacturing capacity, according to Cooper. However, these factors were partially offset by unfavorable price and mix.
Fourth-quarter sales for Cooper's North American Tire Operations climbed 10.7 percent to $565.6 million, generating a segment profit of $39 million, compared with a $109.1 million loss in the year-ago period. For the year, the North American segment reported a $110.9 million net income, compared with a $174.1 million loss in 2008, despite sales slipping 6.3 percent to $2.0 billion.
Total light vehicle tire shipments for Cooper´s North America segment in the U.S. increased 22 percent, outpacing the total industry shipment increase of 7 percent reported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, according to Cooper. The tire maker said the higher shipments occurred across all product segments, helping it to increase its market share in the replacement market.
“The tire industry and the global environment continue to be fluid. Successful implementation of the three imperatives detailed in our strategic plan and improvement in market or industry conditions can drive improved operating results,” CEO Roy Armes said. “We recognize these results may also be subjected to uncontrollable factors that impact the replacement tire industry. Our focus remains on prudent management of our critical resources to drive shareholder value. With recent trends in mind, our outlook remains cautiously optimistic.”