FINDLAY, Ohio — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. suffered a 46.6-percent drop in operating earnings in the quarter ended March 31, reflecting a "volatile raw material cost and product pricing environment."
Operating income fell to $48.7 million on 1-percent lower sales of $643 million, dropping the operating margin six and a half points to 7.6 percent. Sales were off despite a 2.9-percent increase in unit volume; in North America units sold were off 9.3 percent.
Net income fell 48.2 percent to $30.6 million.
Cooper noted that its raw materials costs jumped by $50 million in the quarter — partially offset by price and mix improvements of $8 million — and manufacturing costs were up in North America on lower production as the company managed inventory levels in a down market.
The higher costs also were partially offset by a $22 million reversal of preliminary truck/bus tire tariffs incurred in 2016.