ERJ staff report (TB)
Quincy, Illinois - Titan International Inc. suffered net losses in the quarter and year ended Dec. 31 as sales plunged 43.3 and 29.8 percent, respectively.
Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said he expects 2010 to bring improvements because construction industry inventories are depleted, farming still has â€œfair sales volumeâ€ and the mining market â€œis good and pricing is fair.â€
Mr. Taylor did not offer specific earnings or sales forecasts, but he did put the unionized workforce at the firm's tyre plants on notice that Titan will address the need for more flexibility in its contract negotiations starting in November.
For 2009, Titan's net result fell $24.6 million into the red after suffering a $26.5 million loss in the fourth quarter alone. Sales fell to $727.6 million for the year and $146.5 million for the quarter. Business in the earthmoving/construction sector fell 48.5 percent during the year, while agricultural-related sales were off 22.8 percent.
Regarding Titan's negotiations with Goodyear pertaining to Goodyear's European farm tyre business, Mr. Taylor said: â€œâ€¦We will only finalize any transaction if it makes sense businesswise and financially. In short, we are not going to roll the dice.â€
Mr. Taylor also pointed to the seven-year, $172.5 million convertible senior subordinated note offering Titan floated in December, giving the firm flexibility and liquidity. Also, Titan plans to ask shareholders at its March 4 annual meeting to approve doubling the number of authorized common stock shares to 120 million.
Inventories at year-end were down nearly 12 percent to $110.1 million, the company reported.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Titan Tire