By Liz White, ERJ staff
Findlay, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. completed the sale of its automotive business, Cooper-Standard Automotive, on 23 Dec. The Novi, Michigan-headquartered maker of weatherstrip, hose and antivibration parts has been bought for some $1165 million in cash by a grouping formed by The Cypress Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
The deal covers the 47 facilities and operations of Cooper-Standard Automotive-which Cooper describes as a global manufacturer of fluid-handling systems, body-sealing systems, and active and passive vibration control systems, primarily for automotive original equipment manufacturers. The business's sales in 2003 were about $1600 million.
Commenting on the tyre maker's pleasure at concluding the transaction, Cooper chairman, president, and chief executive officer Thomas Dattilo (pictured) said, â€œThe sale will allow us to focus more fully on our core business and will provide the flexibility and capital necessary to grow the tyre business to its full global potential.â€ Cooper is looking at â€œpursuing growth opportunities in North America as well as in key strategic markets around the world,â€ he added.
Proceeds from the sale will also be used for debt reduction and share repurchase, with some $60 million put into pension plans of continuing operations, Cooper's statement commented.
Dattilo recently told ERJ's sister publication Rubber & Plastics News that, having built Cooper Standard into a profitable business, â€œit commanded a premium selling price,â€ and that the sale would increase shareholder value.
Ambitious plans to extend Cooper's tyre operations via production in China, following moves to outsource some tyre manufacture to the region, are also part of Cooper's current strategy.
The pic shows Dattilo, named Rubber & Plastics News' rubber industry executive of the year.