FINDLAY, Ohio (April 18, 2002) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. announced its first-quarter net income was $26 million. Net sales were $813 million, representing a 7-percent leap from the first quarter of 2001.
For the quarter, the Findlay-based tire maker's operating profit increased 143 percent to reach $61 million. The net income resulted in earnings per share of 36 cents.
“We continue to realize the benefits of our hard work and the implementation of our strategies," Cooper Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Dattilo said in a press release. “While greater strength in the economy certainly played an important part in our results, we were able to outperform our industries because of several factors, including new business in both tires and automotive components and the savings from our restructuring initiatives. These are things we will be able to build on and benefit from throughout the year.”
Cooper's net sales for its tire operations were $433 million for the first quarter, up from $388 million for the same period in 2001. The company attributed the increase to a strong performance in North America, where sales increased more than 16 percent. The company also noted that its unit sales in North America rose 15 percent vs. an industry-wide increase of only 5 percent in replacement tires.
The company's operating profit soared 168 percent during the quarter to $43 million, an increase of $27 million over the previous year. Cooper said higher volumes, lower raw material costs and savings from restructuring activities completed last year all contributed to the higher profit margin.
“We had a solid quarter," Mr. Dattilo said, "And we intend to keep the momentum going. Looking ahead, we expect the demand for tires to remain relatively strong through the spring and into the summer. That should help keep pricing steady and inventories declining.”
Cooper's strong financial showing comes as, earlier this month, it launched an aggressive new national advertising campaign on the slogan, “Don't Give Up A Thing.” A series of print and TV ads highlight the confidence consumers have in the ability of the company's products to perform as promised, and the affordability of the Cooper tire brand.