FINDLAY, Ohio • Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. reported sales of $2.75 billion for 2019, down from $2.81 billion a year before. But net income increased to $96 million, or $1.91 per share, compared with $77 million or $1.51 per share.

For the fourth quarter, Cooper posted net income of $51 million, or $1.02 per share, which beat analysts’ expectations by 37 cents per share. Fourth-quarters sales of $750.21 million was down 2.6 percent, but it beat expectations by $10.3 million.

Cooper, which employs about 1,400 at its manufacturing plant in Tupelo, said it saw unit volume drop by 3.9% last year compared to 2018.

For the year, Cooper saw sales in the U.S. drop 0.4% to $2.35 billion. Operating profit rose 3.5% to $238 million. International sales fell 16.7% to $534 million, while operating profit losses decreased 4.7% to $13 million.

The international volume declines were blamed on “unfavorable economic and political factors.”

Yet, Cooper CEO Brad Hughes said, “In our core U.S. market, light vehicle tire volume was in line with the industry, and in Asia, third party sales were up compared to last year.”

Cooper said it expects “modest” growth in volume in 2020, including in the U.S.

Twitter: @dennisseid

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