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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Cooper Tire posts loss of $25 million

FINDLAY - Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. lost $25 million last quarter as it continued to struggle with bloated inventories and incurred restructuring charges for closing a factory in Athens, Ga., the company announced yesterday.

It also paid $5 million in severance to former Chief Executive Thomas Dattilo, who left in August to pursue other interests, which weren't spelled out.

Third-quarter sales were $716 million, up 28 percent from a year ago. Much of the increase was attributed to Chinese operations in which the firm acquired controlling interest in February, resulting in $108 million in sales during the quarter, it said.

"We are confident in the direction we are heading, and our outlook calls for steady but modest improvement in the fourth quarter," said Byron Pond, the Findlay firm's interim chief executive.

Cooper Tire stock closed yesterday up 94 cents at $11.90 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

A year ago, the company lost $840,000 in the quarter, or a penny a share. This year's loss was 41 cents a share.

Increasing raw material costs are reducing operating profit by $34 million in the quarter, and product liability expenses were $5 million higher, the firm said.

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