Cooper Tire terminates merger agreement with Apollo Tyres - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Cooper Tire terminates merger agreement with Apollo Tyres

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FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

On Monday, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announced it has terminated its merger agreement with India-based Apollo Tyres.

Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes released the following statement:

"It is time to move our business forward. While the strategic rationale for a business combination with Apollo is compelling, it is clear that the merger agreement both companies signed on June 12 will not be consummated by Apollo and we have been notified that financing for the transaction is no longer available. The right thing for Cooper now is to focus on continuing to build our business.

"Our business model is strong, and despite the challenges this year, we are coming off record operating profit through the first half of the year and expect to continue to be profitable for the second half, ending the year with a strong balance sheet. We look forward to continuing to execute on our strategy in 2014, and we have a very strong base from which to do this - brands that are respected for quality, a loyal customer base, a flexible global network of manufacturing facilities, a skilled workforce, and top technical capabilities.

"Addressing the situation at Cooper Chengshan Tire in Rongcheng, China is our top priority in the near term. The issues at CCT were driven by the merger agreement, and with the agreement now terminated, Cooper is working independently to restore normal operations at CCT, including obtaining the information needed for Cooper to resume regular financial reporting as soon as possible. Once the situation at CCT is resolved and regular financial reporting has resumed, Cooper will be in a position to address additional options for the deployment of capital targeted at returning value for our stockholders.

"While Cooper believes Apollo has breached the merger agreement, and we will continue to pursue the legal steps necessary to protect the interests of our company and our stockholders, our focus will be squarely on our business and moving it forward."

The road to merging with Apollo has been a bumpy one since Cooper announced the $2.5 billion deal back in June. In October, Cooper filed legal action, claiming Apollo reps had "buyer's remorse" and wanted a cheaper deal. Union workers at Cooper's China-based plant went on strike for weeks in protest of Apollo's attempted buyout.

Despite the announcement, Cooper claims it does not owe Apollo a $50 million termination fee. Rather, it believes Apollo should be on the hook for how everything happened.

"As to the $112.5 million reverse termination fee from Apollo, Cooper is pursuing this and other possible damages," explained Brad Hughes, Cooper's CFO.

Apollo announced it also plans to file a lawsuit in a Delaware Chancery Court.

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says Cooper's continued success is important for the city as a whole.

"It provides a lot of opportunity for our residents. It provides a lot of philanthropic dollars to our community," said Mihalik.

Putting the failed merger in the past could be best for Cooper, as it rolls into its 100-year anniversary in 2014.

"From Findlay's perspective, at least from the government's perspective, I think it's great that there's going to be a renewed focus on the business," said Mihalik.

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