FINDLAY, OhioCooper Tire & Rubber Co., seeking to get back on track strategically and financially after the collapse of its planned merger with Apollo Tyres Ltd., is hoping to resume regular financial reporting, but how soon that happens will depend on how quickly its Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire (CCT) joint venture in Rongcheng, China, starts bringing its delinquent financial records up to date.
Cooper also reported that CCT has started making preparations to resume production of Cooper-brand tires at the Rongcheng plant, where production was halted last summer as part of CCT's protest of the Cooper-Apollo union.
Cooper notified the Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-November that it would be unable to file its third quarter 10-Q report on time because it has not been able to obtain certain business and financial information from CCT.
Now that CCT has indicated it will restore regular financial reporting, Cooper said it will monitor the data entry to assure that it is taking place properly and that it will continue without interruption.
The company said it continues to work with the labor union and joint venture partner to resolve open issues on a long-term basis.
More than 5,000 workers at the factory went on strike last August to protest the Apollo takeover of Cooper, which owns 65 percent of the venture. China's Chengshan Group holds the rest.
CCT union leaders reportedly were trying to block the Cooper-Apollo transaction from taking place because they didn't believe Apollo could repay the debt it would take on to finance the acquisition. The workers worried that it could put their jobs and pay in jeopardy.
Cooper's inability to control the situation at CCT was a key sticking point in Apollo's willingness to complete the $2.5 billion merger the two companies had announced in June.
Preliminary work to ramp up production of Cooper brands at CCT is taking place. While this is a step forward in resolving the issues there, Cooper is looking to the labor union and joint venture partner to assure that production will indeed resume in full and will continue uninterrupted, Cooper said.
While restarting production of Cooper brands at CCT indicates positive progress, it is absolutely critical that actions are taken there to allow Cooper to resume regular financial reporting. This remains an open issue and we are working hard to resolve it as our top priority.
Cooper announced on Dec. 30 that it was terminating the merger with Apollo and would look at its other options, including other possible merger agreements.