Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) today reported results for the first quarter of 2014. Net sales were $796 million, a decrease of $65 million compared with the same period a year ago. Operating profit for the quarter was $81 million, which is $16 million lower than the first quarter of 2013 and 10.2% of net sales. The company reported net income attributable to Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of $0.71 per share, or $45 million, in the first quarter. This compares with $56 million, or $0.87 per share, for the same period last year.
“Cooper is off to a strong start in 2014, which is our 100 th year in the tire business,” said Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Roy Armes. “Our first quarter operating profit is the second-best for a first quarter in our company’s history, topped only by last year’s first quarter, when we set an all-time profit record,” he said. “We are pleased with the way our employees around the globe have remained focused on our goals as they continue to execute our strategic plan. Going forward, we will build on our successes and address the opportunities we have to further strengthen our business and deliver shareholder value across a wide range of economic and industry conditions.”
Factors impacting operating profit in the first quarter of 2014 included unfavorable pricing and mix of $96 million, which was partially offset by lower raw material costs of $67 million, manufacturing cost efficiencies of $11 million, higher unit volumes of $8 million and lower products liability costs of $2 million. Compared with the first quarter of 2013, selling, general and administrative costs were $5 million higher, and other operating costs increased $3 million, including distribution costs that were higher than a year ago.
Cooper ended the first quarter with a strong balance sheet, including $336 million in cash and cash equivalents, which was an increase of $64 million compared with March 31, 2013. Cash was down $62 million from December 31, 2013 consistent with typical seasonal patterns for working capital.