Automotive supplier Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has put its Cooper-Standard Automotive Group on the block as it considers ways to reshape its business.
The Findlay, Ohio-based company announced March 24 it was considering the sale of the unit, which includes some plastics processing, to raise funds to reduce debt, repurchase shares or invest in its continuing tire business.
``We believe that Cooper Tire & Rubber may best be served by dedicating our resources to investing in our tire business and further pursuing global expansion,'' said Thomas A. Dattilo, chairman, president and chief operating officer, in a written statement on the proposed sale.
Cooper-Standard now runs one specific plastics operation, an extruded side body molding plant in Cleveland, but is in the process of closing that facility, a company spokeswoman said.
Its sealing systems division includes some plastics molding in its rubber processing operations, including at plants in Goldsboro, N.C., and Piedras Negras, Mexico, as well as sites in South Korea, Brazil and France.
Cooper-Standard had about $1.66 billion in sales in 2003, accounting for about half of Cooper Tire's corporate sales, noted Martin King, an analyst with New York-based credit ratings group Standard & Poor's.
King noted concerns about the impact of selling the division, with S&P placing Cooper Tire on credit watch with negative implications.
``The sale of the fairly successful automotive unit ... would modestly weaken Cooper's business profile by reducing the size and scope of the company and diminishing its business diversity,'' he said.
Cooper-Standard will continue normal operations while its parent group explores any potential sale, officials said.