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Cooper, Bridgestone report losses

Two major tire manufacturers reported losses due to soaring raw materials costs and depressed sales.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted a third-quarter loss of $55.4 million, or 94 cents per share, compared with earnings of $30.2 million, or 48 cents per share, in the third quarter a year earlier.

Sales rose 3 percent to $793.8 million from $767.7 million, helped by higher prices and increased market share in Canada and Mexico, according to a company press release.

The company said record high raw material costs hurt results by $104 million.

The company says it has lowered capital expenditures as raw material costs and competition increase while demand softens.

“Our business has come under intense pressure from several fronts, including increased raw material costs, decreased global demand and more intense competition,” Cooper CEO Roy Armes said in the release.

In related news, Bridgestone Corp. reported the company’s net income fell 40 percent in the first nine months of 2008, to $477 million.

Operating income decrease 27 percent to $1,150 million, Bridgestone said in a press release.

The company had decreased operating profit of 42 percent for the first three quarters of 2008, though sales went up slightly at 1 percent.

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