“Cooper is off to a strong start in 2016,” said Chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes. “Our first quarter operating margin performance was excellent, and continued the positive results we delivered in 2015. The Americas segment posted another outstanding quarter, with operating margin of over 18 percent. Unit volumes grew nearly 2 percent year-over-year, with strong growth in the international segment, which was partially offset by a slight decrease in the Americas segment. We continue to execute against our strategic plan, investing in operations around the globe to improve our competitive position and accelerating the development of new products. In North America, new products — those launched in the past two years — represent approximately 30 percent of sales. Of course, our overarching goal is to deliver shareholder value, and we continued to return cash to shareholders through our ongoing quarterly dividend and nearly $25 million in share repurchases in the first quarter,” Armes said.
First quarter net sales were $650 million, a decrease of 2 percent compared with $663 million in the first quarter of 2015. First quarter results include $12 million of higher unit volume, with increases in the international segment partially offset by decreases in the Americas segment. The unit volume increase was more than offset by $17 million of unfavorable price and mix, primarily due to net price reductions related to lower raw material costs, as well as $8 million of negative currency impact.
First quarter 2016 operating profit was $91 million compared with $70 million for the same period last year. Cooper said operating profit increased as a result of $23 million of favorable raw material costs, net of price and mix, $6 million of lower product liability costs, $2 million of favorable SG&A and $1 million of higher unit volume. These benefits were partially offset by $6 million of higher manufacturing costs, $3 million of negative currency impact, and $2 million of other costs.