Even as Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Just last month, it announced it was reducing earnings by $16 million over five years because of underreporting workers compensation claims. That revision has now been bumped up to $20 million. Goodyear was generally tightlipped about the restatements, hinting it may reveal more in its annual filings.
Oh, yeah. Annual filings -- almost forgot about those. Goodyear says it will finally get around to filing its restated 2002 annual report as well as its never-filed 2003 report sometime in mid-May. But because it will be after the April 19 deadline spelled out in its loan agreements, the tire maker is negotiating with its lenders to extend the deadline another 30 days. Goodyear says it doesn't need to access the credit during the extension period, but wants it available, just in case.
Even with a supposed $1 billion in cash and equivalents, Goodyear still has $6 billion in total debt (including operating leases and accounts receivable that have been sold). It will have to refinance this debt over the coming years, but there's also the slim risk that Goodyear might not make a new May 19 filing deadline either, at which time it would be in default.
Standard & Poor's Rating says the conclusion of the investigation has no bearing on its credit ratings, and the company remains on CreditWatch with negative implications. S&P anticipates earnings and cash flow will be restricted for the next few years because of high oil and rubber prices.
Goodyear has been spinning its wheels for quite a while now, failing to gain market share by capitalizing on the massive Firestone tire recall by competitor Bridgestone three years ago. It also faces stiff competition from smaller rivals Michelin and Cooper Tire & Rubber
Yet with its accounting woes easing (it still faces a Securities and Exchange Commission probe about the restatements), Goodyear's management team can perhaps focus on its turnaround plan and inflate what has otherwise been three flat years.
That is, assuming it doesn't decide to restate earnings yet again.
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Fool contributor Rich Duprey usually writes with one hand holding a doughnut and the other hand holding a radar gun. He does not own any stocks mentioned in this article.