By NEMS Daily Journal
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. more than doubled its first-quarter profit, earning $56.1 million, or 87 cents a share, despite a decline in sales.
The Findlay-based tire maker, which has a manufacturing facility in Tupelo, reported a profit of $21.6 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier.
Lower raw materials and operating costs boosted the company’s bottom line during this year’s first quarter.
However, its sales of $861.7 million were down 12 percent from a year ago.
Analysts had expected Cooper to post a first-quarter profit of 66 cents a share on sales of $965 million.
“We carried the momentum of record financial results from 2012 into the first quarter of 2013 by achieving record operating profit of $97 million despite a decline in volumes,” said Cooper Chairman, President and CEO Roy Ames.
Raw material costs were $90 million, and manufacturing costs dropped $19 million during the quarter, the company said. Some of the manufacturing cost reductions came from production slowdowns at its factories, due in part to higher inventories.
Cooper’s North American operations were down 14 percent to $602 million, with shipments dropping 14 percent.
Cooper said its light-vehicle tire shipments in the U.S. dropped 14 percent. That compares to Rubber Manufacturers Association members’ shipments falling 6 percent overall during the quarter.
Cooper’s international tire sales declined 16 percent to $341 million.
The company added that it expects weak global tire demand and economic conditions to continue.
Shares of Cooper Tire (NYSE: CTB) closed Thursday at $24.35, up $1.99, or 7.6 percent.