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Cooper Tire, Libbey Inc. swing to losses for second quarter

FINDLAY - Higher commodity costs and weaker tire demand led Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to report a second-quarter loss yesterday of $22 million, or 38 cents a share, compared to a profit of $18 million, or 25 cents a share, during the same period in 2007.

The aftermarket tire manufacturer said it had record sales for the quarter of $773 million, up 6 percent from $730 million for the period a year ago.

The Findlay company said it had to deal with costlier raw materials and utilities and slower sales of tires in North America. The quarterly loss was the firm's first since 2006.

"It's a tough quarter," said Tony Cristello, a Richmond, Va., analyst at BB&T Capital Markets. The company, he said, should be helped by lower commodities costs once gasoline prices ease after the summer travel season.

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Larger tax payments at Libbey Inc. led to a loss of $2.1 million in the second quarter, compared with a profit of $4 million in the prior-year period.

The Toledo tableware manufacturer said sales increased 9 percent to $225 million from $207 million a year ago. Excluding taxes and interest payments, quarterly profits decreased slightly in the past quarter to $19 million from $21 million. The decrease was blamed on higher natural-gas costs and reduced production at a plant in Mexico as a result of renovation work.

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