Cooper Tire Curbs Production

Hurricane Rita causes a raw-material shortage.
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Cooper Tire

said two of its tire manufacturing plants will operate on reduced schedules because of raw material shortages stemming from Hurricane Rita.

The tire maker said Wednesday that its plants in Texarkana, Ark., and Tupelo, Miss., will begin reduced production schedules on Oct. 2. The company estimates that about 30,000 tires per day will be taken out of production until the raw material supply returns to normal.

Several of Cooper's suppliers for carbon black and synthetic rubber were severely damaged by Hurricane Rita and haven't yet resumed production. In addition, Cooper said access to roadways is being limited by authorities and lack of rail cars as businesses compete for shipping alternatives.

Cooper, based in Findlay, Ohio, said it has enough tire inventory to fill customer orders, limiting the financial impact of the problem to the reduced production in the affected plants. The company plans to use materials currently in stock for high-demand products, and said its current finished inventory levels should help maintain the product flow to customers.