Cooper's Future No Longer Includes Automotive Products

Cooper Industries Inc.says it plans to exit the automotive business and focus on its electrical-products and tools-and-hardware segments. The company has retained Merrill Lynch & Co. to advise it on exit strategies.

Cooper's automotive-products segment consists of Cooper Automotive and Moog Automotive. The company's automotive products include such brands as Champion spark plugs, Anco wiper products, Wagner lighting and brake components, Moog steering and suspension parts, and Precision universal joints. The automotive products segment generated $1.9 billion in revenues in 1997 and currently accounts for 34% of Cooper's revenue.

"Given the growth potential we foresee in our electrical-products and tools-and-hardware segments, we believe that our shareholders would be better served by our focusing on and growing these core businesses," said H. John Riley Jr., Cooper's chairman, president, and CEO.

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