The company ended the fourth quarter with $352 million in cash and cash equivalents, an increase of $118 million compared with the prior-year fourth quarter balance of $234 million. Improved profits and lower working capital contributed to the higher cash balance.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, the company reported record net sales of $4.2 billion, an increase of $293 million, or 7%, from 2011. Operating profit for the full year 2012 was also a record at $397 million, which is 9.5% of net sales. The company reported net income of $3.49 per share from continuing operations on a diluted basis for the full year.

A summary presentation of information related to the quarter is posted on the company's website at http://coopertire.com/Investors/Financials/Quarterly-Summary.aspx.

North America Tire Operations

North America Tire Operations achieved net sales of $811 million during the fourth quarter, up 5% from fourth quarter 2011 net sales of $771 million. Increased sales resulted from higher unit volumes and higher price and mix. Unit shipments for the North American segment increased 2% compared with the prior-year fourth quarter. Cooper's total light vehicle tire shipments in the United States were nearly flat during the quarter compared with Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) member shipments declining 3% and total industry shipments (that includes an estimate for non-RMA members) that increased 2% as reported by the RMA.

The segment's operating profit was $103 million for the fourth quarter, or 12.7% of net sales. This represents an increase of $68 million compared with fourth quarter 2011. The improved profit includes a $51 million decrease in raw material costs, $19 million in improved price and mix, manufacturing efficiencies of $10 million and higher unit volumes of $3 million. Product liability costs decreased by $2 million. These improvements were partially offset by $11 million of higher selling, general and administrative costs and $6 million “other” costs attributable to pension related expense and incentive compensation. Higher incentive compensation costs, resulting from higher profits, affected selling, general and administrative costs and “other” costs.

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