China firm resumes tire production, Cooper says

After failed merger, facility to release data


FINDLAY — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. said this week its joint venture factory in China has resumed production of Cooper-branded tires after a monthslong work stoppage related to a failed merger deal.

The Findlay company said its facility in Rongcheng, China, began to ramp up production of Cooper brand tires last week. Workers at the plant quit building Cooper brand tires and prevented Cooper management from entering the plant — or accessing financial data — in protest of a deal that would have seen Cooper sell itself to India's Apollo Tyres Ltd. for $2.5 billion.

Those issues became a point of contention in the deal late last year. After weeks of legal wrangling with Apollo, Cooper formally called off the deal on Dec. 30.

In addition to resuming production, Cooper now says the Chinese facility has given word that it will begin entering past and current financial and operational data into a company computer system.

In a statement, a company spokesman said Cooper will monitor the data to assure it’s being entered properly.

“While this represents a positive step toward Cooper restoring regular financial reporting, the company continues to work with the labor union and joint venture partner to resolve open issues on a long-term basis,” the company said. “Therefore, at this time, it is premature for Cooper to determine when it will resume regular financial reporting.”

Cooper missed the Nov. 14 deadline to file its third-quarter financials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has yet to report those figures.