Findlay's Cooper Tire sold to Indian tire maker - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Findlay's Cooper Tire sold to Indian tire maker

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FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - India's Apollo Tyres Ltd. is buying Ohio's Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. for about $2.22 billion.

Apollo says the combined company will be one of the world's tire makers, with a strong presence across four continents and combined 2012 sales of $6.6 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, Cooper shareholders will receive $35 per share in cash. The price represents a 42 percent premium over Cooper's Tuesday closing stock price.

Cooper shares jumped 40 percent in Wednesday premarket trading.

Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper says the deal is in the best interests of its shareholders.

The sale, which remains subject to Cooper shareholder and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Cooper Tire's worldwide corporate headquarters is located in Findlay.

Cooper's management team is expected to stay in place and continue to operate at its facilities in almost a dozen countries.

Roy Armes, the President and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company says, "Together, our two organizations will have almost no geographic overlap and significant opportunities for growth."

Neeraj Kanwar, the Vice President of Apollo Tyres says, "This transaction will maintain the networks and workforces in each organization's respective regions, while creating new opportunities in others.

13 ABC's Christine Long reports from the Flag City about what this means for the future of the Findlay plant and its 900 workers there.

Cooper Tire has been a part of this community for nearly 100 years. It's one of the largest employers in Hancock County. News of the sale this morning shocked everyone from the mayor of Findlay to workers on the tire manufacturing plant floor.

"We just don't know what's ahead for us," says Rod Nelson, president of United Steelworkers Local 207-L, the union that represents the Findlay plant's 900 workers.

Nelson says his members have a fear of the unknown.

Apollo and Cooper say they'll honor existing collective bargaining agreements. Workers in the Flag City have four years left on their contract, but the union president is worried about foreign ownership.

"We're just going to have to take every day as it comes and just keep on doing our job there in the plant and that's going to tell how our future is going to be," says Nelson.

"I feel very confident about the long term sustainability of Cooper in Findlay, Ohio," says Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik.

Mihalik spoke with leaders at Cooper over the phone Wednesday morning and she says she's optimistic about the future.

"We have a great international flair here in Findlay: Japanese, Canadian, German," says Mihalik. "So an Indian company is welcome here, as well. I think that's great, that's what makes us globally competitive."

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