Cooper Tire seeks to sell plastics unit
FINDLAY, Ohio - Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. of Findlay has retained investment banking firm W.Y. Campbell & Co. of Detroit to explore options for its plastic division, including a sale.
Cooper's plastics division includes units it obtained in its 1999 acquisition of Standard Products Co. of Dearborn, Mich. They include Cooper-Standard's automotive plastics unit, which makes exterior automotive trim; Holm Industries, which supplies seals and gaskets for consumer and construction markets; and OEM Miller, which makes corrugated hose and tube products. Sales last year for the entire plastics division totaled $215 million. Cooper also produces automotive tires, sealing, trim, and fluid-handling systems and other lines.
LEAR PROFIT RISES
DETROIT - Lear Corp. reported fourth-quarter profits rose 25 percent from a year ago, assisted by cost cutting in Europe and record U.S. vehicle sales.
Profits from operations climbed to $91.7 million, or $1.36 a share, up from $73.4 million, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier. Lear, of Southfield, Mich., also enjoyed higher sales from its $2.3 billion purchase last year of United Technologies Corp.'s UT Automotive unit.
FAG WINS BEARING CONTRACT
DETROIT - FAG Automotive of Southfield, Mich., won a tapered roller wheel-bearing contract from Bosch Braking Systems for use on a 2001-model sport-utility. The bearing will be made at FAG Automotive's Stratford, Ontario, plant. FAG Automotive is a division of bearing manufacturer FAG Kugel-fischer Georg Schafer AG of Schweinfurt, Germany.
DANA RATINGS CUT
NEW YORK - Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term corporate credit rating and its senior unsecured debt rating on Dana Corp. The rating dropped to BBB+ from A-.
The credit outlook for Dana, a Toledo, Ohio, supplier of drivetrain, structural, engine, chassis and other systems, is now stable. The new ratings are the result of Dana's inability to achieve expected debt reduction, and reflect concerns that more share repurchases and other investments will limit improvement in debt-protection measures in the next three years.
OXFORD EXPANDS BUSINESS
DETROIT - Oxford Automotive Inc. said it is creating a separate technology division to expand into supplying prototype, design and engineering services on a global basis. The move follows Oxford's recent acquisition of CET Technologies Inc. and Tool and Engineering Co. Oxford of Troy, Mich., supplies metal stampings, roll forming, welding and assembly equipment.
INTERMET LOSES CFO
DETROIT - Doretha Christoph, Intermet Corp.'s CFO since June 1995, has taken the job of vice president and CFO with publisher McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, Calif. Intermet of Troy, Mich., supplies driveline components.