Cooper Tire reaches deal on Chinese joint venture

Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:58pm EST

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(Reuters) - Cooper Tire & Rubber Co (CTB.N) said it had reached a deal to either sell or take full ownership of its Chinese joint venture, clearing the way for the U.S. tire maker to resume publishing its financial results and look for a buyer.

Cooper Tire's shares rose as much as 4 percent.

The fourth-largest U.S. tire maker said its 65 percent stake in the joint venture with Chengshan Group Co Ltd was worth at least $283 million.

Under the deal, Cooper Tire could also buy out its partner's stake for at least $152 million.

Chengshan Group opposed Cooper Tire's $2.5 billion agreement to sell itself to India's Apollo Tyres Ltd (APLO.NS), derailing the deal. The Chinese company's employees locked out Cooper management and halted production of Cooper-branded tires, making it impossible for Cooper Tire to announce its quarterly results.

The Chinese company also filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the joint venture.

Chengshan Group had been exploring a bid for Cooper Tire when the company struck the Apollo deal, Cooper Tire told a court in November.

Cooper Tire said on Friday it expected to report its third-quarter results in early March.

The venture would continue in its current form if neither company decided to buy the other's interest, Cooper said.

If Chengshan Group buys Cooper's stake, Chengshan would continue to make Cooper-branded products for at least three years.

Production resumed earlier this month at the plant.

Cooper Tire shares were 3.2 percent higher at $23.09 on the New York Stock Exchange at midday. The stock has fallen about 6 percent since the Apollo deal fell through.

(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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