By Oliver Hall
Cooper tyres announced a $21 million loss for the first quarter of 2009 as sales declined more than $100 million against the same period last year.
The US tyres maker, which has its European headquarters in Melksham, said the drop was due mostly to declining tyres sales volume, with a slight offset from improved pricing.
Roy Armes, chairman, president and CEO, said: “The tyre industry and our business continued to be affected by weak demand for replacement tyres during the first quarter of 2009.
“Raw material spot prices have decreased in recent months, but overcapacity is still a negative pressure on results for the tyre industry. We are actively taking steps to address this environment.
“While our operations continued to improve and we were very pleased with the performance, we recognise there is still much work to be done.”
The company reported first quarter sales of $571 million, down $108 million from the first quarter of 2008.
Mr Armes continued: “We continue to focus on improving our global cost structure, profitably increasing our top line, and enhancing our organizational capabilities as targeted in our strategic plan.
“We are beginning to see some of the benefits from our actions. Unfortunately, much of what we have done is still masked by current market conditions. In light of these market conditions, we have also continued with liquidity and cash management priorities while managing inventory levels to successfully meet customer demands.
“We were successful at preserving our cash during the quarter by managing our costs, inventory and capital expenditures. We will continue to be prudent in managing our resources as we move forward.”
Cooper is the latest in a long line of global tyre manufacturers to report a heavy loss due to the recession and the slump in demand for tyres.