Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co Earnings Call Nuggets: Volume Expectations and Savings from the French Closure

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (NYSE:GT) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Volume Expectations

Rod Lache – Deutsche Bank: Just a couple things. First on your volume expectations for North America and Europe, you said zero to 2% for replacement. I’m wondering, what does that imply for Goodyear? Is it similar or just over the course of this past year, you had some underperformance in both of those regions?

Richard J. Kramer – Chairman, President and CEO: Well, Rod, I think from our North American business, as we look ahead, we don’t see a robust industry in terms of what the economy is doing here, but we still see sort of the GDP type growth in the economy and that’s going to drive the volume forecast that we see.

Darren Wells – EVP and CFO: So, I guess Rod, if you look at our – I mean our view is that we’ll have low single-digit growth this year. So, I think if you match it up with the industry outlook, you’re going to find its pretty well in line.

Rod Lache – Deutsche Bank: Can you comment also raw materials, if spot prices stay where they are right now? How would you see that going forward?

Darren Wells – EVP and CFO: Yeah, so I think the answer on this is a little bit longer answer, Rod, because I think if we just said that raw materials remained flat for the remainder of the year. There would be raw material cost declined in the neighborhood of $800 million. The difficulty is that if we do – I mean we do see some recovery in industry volume this year. So, to the extent volume start to increase again, we would expect the raw market cost would start to increase also. That’s effectively what we’ve had to take into account as we look at what our performance looks like during the year. So, we are expecting some improvement in volumes at low single-digits us and the industry. And I think to go along with that we have to expect the raw materials are going to start to increase again as well and as you know our expectation over time is that raw material costs are going to continue to rise.