FINDLAY, Ohio—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to eliminate 1,100 jobs worldwide in a move to further integrate the Standard Products Co. and Siebe Automotive businesses it acquired last year, the company said.
Cooper will cut 4.3 percent of its work force and cease or reduce operations at 18 plants around the world by the end of 2001.
News of the closures accompanied Cooper's report that its third-quarter profits slid 32 percent to $23.4 million despite an increase in sales to $844 million from $532 million during the same period last year.
In the U.S., Cooper will shut down an Oliver Rubber tread facility in Dallas and three automotive component plants in North Carolina and Michigan, eliminating 540 jobs as Cooper moves capacity to other sites.
Cooper hasn't identified which European plants it will shutter, but said projected total cost savings from the plan will reach about $30 million, with another $25 million realized from the sale of facilities and assets.
Cooper's stock rose from $9.75 on Oct. 18 to close just under $10.13 on Oct. 19, the day of its earnings and restructuring announcements. It settled at $9.88 by the close of the market Oct. 27.
"I think the investment community likes what they hear, but remains concerned about the health overall of the automotive industry," said Saul Ludwig, an analyst with McDonald Investments Inc. in Cleveland.
Cooper's net sales hit record levels during the third quarter, rising 14 percent from year-earlier figures. Excluding a 9-percent increase from the Oliver Rubber tread segment, tire sales were up 5 percent, largely because of the Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recall.
Sales of Cooper and Mastercraft brand tires also reached record levels during the quarter, and the overall product mix within the tire segment improved, the company said.
Cooper's third-quarter earnings suffered, however, due to inefficiencies at its auto components operations in Mexico and Europe.
Raw materials costs also contributed to Cooper's lower third-quarter earnings. To compensate, Cooper joined Goodyear in raising tire prices, effective Dec. 1. "We are anticipating that raw materials will trend down slightly next year, and we are optimistic we can maintain our tire (price) increases," a spokesman said.