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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

Cooper Tire debt downgraded to junk

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s debt rating was cut to junk yesterday by Standard & Poor's, which cited "pressure" on the company's earnings.

S&P lowered the Findlay tire maker's senior unsecured rating one level to BB+ from BBB-, and said in a statement the rating reflects "poor near-term earnings and cash-flow prospects." The downgrade to high-risk, high-yield junk affects about $720 million in debt.

Cooper Tire has sustained higher costs and a drop in production after Hurricane Rita last month disrupted supplies of materials such as carbon black, which is used to reinforce tires.

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