updated 2/11/2004 4:02:45 PM ET 2004-02-11T21:02:45

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating accounting problems at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the world's largest tire maker said Wednesday.

News of the investigation sent Goodyear shares down Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had been rebounding recently as the company pushed a new line of tires that analysts said could help make Goodyear profitable again.

But in a filing Wednesday with the SEC, Goodyear said the accounting investigation and other issues could negatively affect the company's finances.

"The company cannot assure you that it will be able to achieve future profitability," the filing stated.

The SEC told Goodyear last week that it was moving from an informal inquiry of the accounting problems revealed late last year to a formal investigation. The Akron-based company said it is cooperating fully.

In December, Goodyear said it was investigating possible improper accounting issues in its Europe operations and whether the problems would affect its financial report. On Wednesday, the company said that investigation continued.

In October, Goodyear announced the discovery of accounting system errors that forced it to lower net income since 1998 by $84.7 million. The company said an accounting system implemented in 1999 caused the mistakes. It promised to fix the problems, but in the SEC filing said it hasn't completed its plan to improve internal controls.

Goodyear has lost more than $1 billion, cut 20,000 jobs and closed eight plants worldwide in recent years.

The filing said the future of the company depends on the success of its turnaround plan that includes reducing costs such as wages and benefits by $1 billion to $1.5 billion by the end of 2005 and possibly selling some of its non-tire businesses.

Goodyear has about 88,000 employees and makes tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in 28 countries.

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