FINDLAY, Ohio (April 24, 2002)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. expects earnings in the second quarter to hit 45 to 50 cents a share, nearly twice the level a year ago and 30 percent higher than the financial community's consensus estimate.
“We had a solid quarter,´´ said Thomas A. Dattilo, chairman, president and CEO, referring to first-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share, “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,” Mr. Dattilo said. “That should help keep pricing steady and inventories declining. And even though raw material markets are tightening, we were able to lock in a significant portion of our material requirements for the next several months with contracts at good prices. This will keep our overall raw material costs in good shape as well.”
For the first quarter, Cooper posted net income of $26 million on sales that rose 7 percent to $813 million. Operating profit increased 143 percent to $61 million, as Cooper's restructuring began to pay off.
Unit sales in the tire segment rose 15 percent vs. the industry's 5-percent increase, while dollar sales improved 12 percent to $433.4 million. The most significant increases were in the Cooper and Mastercraft branded products, said Thomas A. Dattilo, chairman, president and CEO.
“We continue to realize the benefits of our hard work and the implementation of our strategies,´´ Mr. Dattilo said in a prepared statement.
“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.´´