FINDLAY, Ohio (May 9, 2006) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will close its recently renovated race tire and tread rubber plant in Athens, Ga., in the coming two to three months and move the plant's production to other company plants.
Cooper said it decided to close the 56-year-old plant, which employs 140, because moving its production to other company plants represents a better utilization of assets, according to an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cooper estimates it will incur $11 million to $15 million in pre-tax costs, spread out over the remainder of fiscal 2006, to close the plant. It also invested $4.2 million in 2001 to cover the consolidation of tread rubber capacity from a Dallas plant that was being closed.
Cooper spent $11 million in 2004-05 to add race tire capacity to the tread rubber plant. The initial production was slated to be Mickey Thompson DOT ET street radials and DOT street-legal Avon Tech R radials. The company also said it was planning to make competition motorcycle tires there.
It acquired the plant in 1999 in its purchase of Oliver Rubber Co.
Cooper did not say where it plans to move the production. It operates tire plants in Texarkana, Ark.; Albany, Ga.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Findlay, and a tread rubber plant in Asheboro, N.C. Cooper launched an inititative in 2004 to consolidate precure tread rubber production at Asheboro.