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Goodyear gains a lot in third quarter

Even though sales in America were 6 percent down, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., helped by the sale of its engineered products unit, earned a lot in the third quarter.

Goodyear, the world's third-largest tire maker, said Tuesday that it earned $668 million (EUR463.66 million), or $2.75 (EUR1.91) per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $48 million (EUR33.32 million), or 27 cents a share, a year ago. Sales were $5.06 billion (EUR3.51 billion) for the quarter, up from $4.9 billion (EUR3.4 billion) in the year-ago period.

On Aug. 1, Goodyear completed its sale of nearly all of its engineered products business for $1.48 billion (EUR1.03 billion) to EPD Inc., part of Washington-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group. Goodyear said it expects to use the money to reduce debt, cover obligations for employee benefits and buyouts, and invest in its core tire businesses.

Discounting the gain and one-time charges, Goodyear earned 70 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial survey expected earnings of 53 cents a share for quarter.

Goodyear recorded a restructuring charge of $107 million (EUR74.27 million), or 60 cents a share, in the year ago quarter that included closing a plant in Tyler, Texas.

Through nine months of 2007, Goodyear made $550 million (EUR381.76 million), or $2.44 (EUR1.69) per share, on sales of $14.9 billion (EUR10.34 billion), compared with year-ago earnings $28 million (EUR19.43 million), or 16 cents per share, on sales of $14.1 billion (EUR9.79 billion).

Goodyear shares were up 63 cents, or 2 percent, to $27.74 in trading Tuesday morning. The shares traded between $14.62 and $36.90 the past year.

Goodyear's North American tire sales in the third quarter were down 6 percent from a year ago, primarily because the company left some private label tire markets. But Goodyear also gained market share with its more profitable Goodyear brand tires.

Operating income of $66 million (EUR45.81 million) for that key segment was the highest since the third quarter of 2001 and up substantially from $19 million (EUR13.19 million) in the same 2006 quarter.

"Despite market challenges, our results are among the best ever achieved by Goodyear," said Robert J. Keegan, chairman and chief executive.

Goodyear, based in Akron, has about 70,000 employees and makes tires and chemicals in 26 countries.

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