FINDLAY, OhioCooper Tire & Rubber Co. reported declines in operating and net income and sales for the first quarter ended March 31.
Net income fell 19 percent to $45.4 million, while sales of $796.5 million were 7.6-percent below the year-ago quarter. Operating profit dropped 17.3 percent to $81 million, and thus fell one percentage point to 10.2 percent of net sales.
Cooper is off to a strong start in 2014, said Roy Armes, chairman, president and CEO. Our first quarter operating profit is the second best for a first quarter in our company's history, topped only by last year's first quarter when we set an all-time profit record.
Cooper said factors impacting operating profit in the first quarter included unfavorable pricing and mix of $96 million, which was partially offset by lower raw material costs of $67 million, manufacturing cost efficiencies of $11 million, higher unit volumes of $8 million and lower products liability costs of $2 million.
The company's North American tire operations achieved sales of $563.5 million, down 6.4 percent from 2013, despite a 7-percent increase in unit shipments. Operating profit in North America slipped 3.9 percent to $68.6 million.
International tire operations generated net sales of $309.9 million, down 9.1 percent from 2013. Operating income fell 23 percent to $23.1 million.
The firm said international unit shipments decreased 2 percent with declines in Asia and Europe. Cooper cited lingering effects of the earlier labor disruptions at its Cooper Chengshan Tire Co. Ltd. joint venture in Rongcheng, China, as a primary reason shipments were down.