updated 2/16/2006 11:52:57 AM ET 2006-02-16T16:52:57

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said on Thursday that it lost $51 million in the fourth quarter as higher raw materials costs, production delays linked to hurricanes and expenses from the sale of its farm tire business took the gleam off record sales. Shares fell nearly 4 percent.

The loss at the nation's largest tire maker loss amounted to 29 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec 31. Sales were $4.9 billion.

The company did not disclose a per-share figure excluding unusual charges and gains. It listed charges of 66 cents per share and gains worth 24 cents per share that would leave a profit of 13 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 25 cents per share.

Goodyear posted operating income of $226 million, brought down $15 million by hurricane-related distribution costs along the Gulf Coast, for the quarter compared with $238 million in 2004.

Raw material costs increased 13 percent, or $160 million.

Goodyear made $124.6 million, or 62 cents a share, on revenue of $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004. But Goodyear had a one-time gain from an insurance settlement of $157 million then that amounting to 75 cents per share.

"Our fundamentals remain sound," said Robert J. Keegan, chairman and chief executive. "We believe the impact of our innovative new products, together with intensified efforts to reduce costs and improve our mix, gives us a solid foundation to continue our turnaround."

For all of 2005, Goodyear earned $225 million, or $1.16 per share, as sales reached $19.7 billion. The Wall Street expectation was for Goodyear to earn $1.58 for the year.

For 2004, Goodyear reported earnings of $115 million, or 63 cents a share, on sales of $18.4 billion, marking Goodyear's return to profitability for the first time since 2000.

On Jan. 30, Goodyear warned its fourth-quarter profit would be hurt by higher-than-expected costs for raw materials.

Hurricanes hurt raw materials suppliers of carbon black and synthetic rubber in the Gulf Coast area. Carbon black is a filler used to improve tire durability.

On Dec. 28, Goodyear completed the sale of its North American farm tire assets to Titan Tire Corp., a subsidiary of Titan International Inc.

Goodyear received $100 million from Titan for the assets, but it took charges in the quarter for employee pension and post-retirement medical plans. That sale reduces revenue in Goodyear's North American Tire segment by about $200 million annually, but will eliminate the need for further investment in the farm tire business to improve the segment's profitability.

Goodyear employs about 85,000 people worldwide and makes tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in 28 countries.

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