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Published: Wednesday, 5/7/2008

Cooper Tire to close 3 warehouses, open 2 larger facilities

ROMULUS, Mich. - Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. officials yesterday discussed plans to close three distribution centers, including one in Moraine, Ohio, next year and replace them with two larger facilities, one in the Midwest and one on the East Coast.

The discussion took place during questioning at the company's annual shareholders meeting, which was moved this year from the Findlay company's hometown to the Westin Hotel at Detroit Metro Airport.

Roy Armes, company chairman and chief executive officer, said the meeting was moved to make it more convenient for institutional investors, although the only two nonemployee shareholder attendees to speak said they were from Findlay.

Asked to comment on plans to close the 800,000-square-foot distribution center in the Dayton suburb of Moraine, Mr. Armes said the company would cut labor, leasing, and transportation costs by eliminating it along with distribution centers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dayton, N.J.

Mr. Armes did not indicate in what cities the two larger centers would be placed.

About 30 people, including a dozen board members, attended the meeting, which took about 25 minutes, yesterday.

After the meeting, the company announced a quarterly dividend of 10.5 cents a share, payable June 30 to holders of record June 2.

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