FINDLAY, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has closed or is closing six Oliver Rubber Co. facilities as it integrates the retreading products maker into the Cooper Commercial Products Division in Findlay.
Oliver's administrative headquarters in Athens, Ga., shut down officially April 1, according to a Cooper spokeswoman, and Oliver management and support staff are now being transferred to Findlay.
The Oliver distribution facility in Athens was already closed when the headquarters shut down, she said. A tread rubber plant in Athens remains open, and Cooper is investing $4.2 million to expand that facility to accommodate production equipment from a plant in Dallas that is being eliminated.
Other facilities closed were a mold making shop in Wadsworth, Ohio, a tread finishing plant in Export, Pa., and a cushion gum and rubber compounding operation in Paris, Texas, Cooper said.
Oliver will retain a ``limited support system'' in Athens to serve the company's Southeast region, the spokeswoman said. It also will have distribution centers in Salt Lake City and in Tupelo, Miss., where Findlay-based Cooper has a plant.
According to Cooper's most recent annual report, ``the closings were due to excess capacity and a decision to more closely integrate Oliver's operations with those of the company's tire business, rather than continue to operate Oliver as a stand-alone business.''
Cooper took a $4 million charge against 2000 tire division operating earnings to cover the costs of the closings. Cooper acquired Oliver when it bought Standard Products Inc. The process of integrating Oliver into the Cooper Commercial Products Division began in mid-2000, the spokeswoman said. The promotion of Larry J. Enders, former president of Oliver, to the presidency of the division last December was tied to that effort.
``Our intention since purchasing Standard Products was to integrate Oliver into our Commercial Products operations,'' she said, adding that Cooper will keep the Oliver brand name.