Things are being set up to resume production of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. brands at the Cooper Chengshan Tire joint venture plant in China, Cooper Tire has reported. The factory had stopped making Cooper brand tires months ago in protest of the proposed sale to Apollo Tyres of India.
That deal fell apart due to the opposition in China and lack of a labor pact between Apollo and unionized Cooper Tire workers in the United States.
“Preliminary work to ramp up production of Cooper brands at (Cooper Chengshan Tire) is taking place,” Cooper Tire stated. “While this is a step forward in resolving the issues there, Cooper is looking to the labor union (in China) and joint venture partner to assure that production will indeed resume in full and will continue uninterrupted.”
However, another problem at the China plant remains unresolved. In its protest of the proposed purchase of Cooper by Apollo, the Chinese plant locked out Cooper officials and withheld financial performance information. That helped block the deal because lenders would not release financing without information about Cooper’s performance in the third quarter of 2013. Cooper Tire is still seeking access to that information.
“It is absolutely critical that actions are taken (at the China plant) to allow Cooper to resume regular financial reporting. This remains an open issue and we are working hard to resolve it as our top priority,” Cooper Tire stated.