updated 3/9/2004 6:54:14 PM ET 2004-03-09T23:54:14

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has disciplined several of its senior managers in Europe in response to an ongoing internal investigation of improper accounting.

Goodyear also disclosed Tuesday that it has discovered what should have been a $16 million charge against earnings largely for understating workers' compensation claims from 1999 to 2003 at one of its domestic plants. The company did not disclose the location.

In October, Goodyear announced the discovery of accounting problems that forced it to lower net income by $84.7 million since 1998. Goodyear said Feb. 11 that the Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding its probe of those problems. The company's accounting investigation is not yet complete.

The disciplinary actions taken by Goodyear European Union President Michael J. Roney include the "separation" of several senior managers and reprimand of other European personnel. Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said separation could mean dismissal, resignation or retirement.

Citing its personnel policies, Goodyear would not say who or how many employees were affected by the disciplinary actions.

Robert W. Tieken, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Goodyear believes a significant portion of the European review has been completed.

"These actions represent an important milestone toward completing the investigation, which is necessary for us to file our audited financials for 2003," Tieken said.

Goodyear has lost more than $1 billion, cut 20,000 jobs and closed eight plants worldwide in recent years. Its turnaround plan includes reducing costs by $1 billion to $1.5 billion by the end of 2005 and possibly selling some of its non-tire businesses.

Goodyear is the world's largest tire company. The company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 85 facilities in 28 countries. Goodyear employs approximately 88,000 people worldwide.

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