FINDLAY, OhioCooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s fiscal 2014 operating profit jumped 24.9-percent over 2013, while sales slipped slightly, resulting in a near two-point gain in the operating ratio to 8.8 percent.
Cooper attributed the operating income improvementto $300.5 millionto favorable raw materials costs, higher unit volumes and lower product liability costs.
The Findlay-based company reported a near doubling in net income, to $213.6 million, in large part to a $56 million after-tax gain from the sale of the firm's 65-percent interest in Cooper Chengshen (Shandong) Tire Co. Ltd.
Sales fell 0.4 percent to $3.42 billion, a decline Cooper attributed to the loss of $61 million in sales following the divestment of the Cooper Chengshen shares and to an unfavorable price and mix equal to about $33 million.
Unit volume rose 6 percent for the year.
The tire maker reported 34.6-percent higher operating income of $274.8 million in its Americas segment on 4-percent higher sales of $2.59 billion.
Overall, fourth quarter operating profit jumped 14.1 percent to $53.6 million, while sales fell 4.8 percent.
For 2015, Cooper expects demand in North America to grow modestly.